Weightlifter Philip Toua Udia won two Pacific Games gold medals for hosts Papua New Guinea, claiming both the men’s 77 kilogram overall and clean and jerk titles to round off a fascinating day’s action here.
Udia finished second to Australia’s Francois Etoundi in the snatch competition with a lift of 130kg, but winning clean and jerk lift of 172kg gave him a total of 302kg to edge out his rival by just a kilogram.
Kiribati’s Taretiia Tabaroua came third overall with a total of 272kg.
Earlier, in the men’s 69kg category, the Federated States of Micronesia’s Manuel Minginfel took the overall title with a total of 276kg, having also won in snatch with a lift of 120kg.
A lift of 156kg saw Minginfel finish second to Fiji’s Tevita Wanono Tawai in clean and jerk, but it was enough to claim the top prize.
Samoa’s Patrick Pasia came second in the overall standings with a total of 268kg, followed by Tawai who ended a further kilogram off the pace in third.
Meanwhile, the Solomon Islands’ Jenly Tegu Wini won all three gold medals in the women’s 58kg class.
Wini lifted 83kg in snatch and an impressive 110kg in clean and jerk, giving her a winning overall total of 193kg.
Australia’s Tia-Clair Toomey secured the silver medal in all three events, while the Marshall Islands’ Mathlynn Robert-Sasser took all three bronzes.
In the women’s 63kg category, Australia’s Philippa Malone totalled 188kg to see off Papua New Guinea’s Sandra Ako and compatriot Kiana Elliott, second and third place finishers respectively, for overall gold.
Although Malone ended runner-up to Ako in clean and jerk with a lift of 102kg, a winning 86kg lift in snatch ultimately proved decisive.
“It feels so awesome and it is a huge honour to be invited to participate in the Pacific Games,” said Malone.
“It’s a massive privilege to be here and to be competing alongside other athletes from the Pacific.
“The sporting venue is great, we feel comfortable and everything is great.”
Ako hopes her performance will inspire Papua New Guinea’s youth to get involved in weightlifting.
“I would like to encourage all upcoming weightlifters to focus and to be mentally fit,” she said.
“This sport of weightlifting is not an easy sport, it’s a mind game.
“Lifters have to fight and must be mentally strong to do well.”
All four winners were also declared Continental champions, with the Pacific Games weightlifting doubling as the Oceania Championships.
The weightlifting action is due to continue tomorrow with the women’s 69kg and 75kg weight classes and the men’s 85kg and 94kg divisions.
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