The Niue Powerlifting Federation, for the very first time, is currently hosting the Oceania Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships 2023 here on the rock.
The tournament is sanctioned by the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and Oceania Regional Powerlifting Federation (ORPF) and is taking place this week at the Pacific Way Bar, Amanau in Alofi.
A special charter flight from Nadi, Fiji arrived on the island last Saturday transporting more than 60 lifters and officials hailing from Nauru, Tonga and the Solomon Islands to compete in the tournament. There were also officials who arrived on the Air Nauru flight from Australia, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea.
Team Nauru makes up the majority of the numbers competing in the tournament this week with 50 team members in total, 5 officials and more than 40 lifters. There are three for Tonga, four from the Solomon Islands team and eight for Niue’s team.
The official opening ceremony took place on Monday this week, which also saw the presence of Premier Dalton Tagelagi.
Kicking off the events for this week was the bench press only competition which took place yesterday. According to one of the Niue team managers Angela Tuhipa, the competition held yesterday is separate from the main tournament which began today.
The powerlifting championships began today and will end tomorrow with three lifts on the squat, bench press and deadlift.
BCN News was able to speak to some of the lifters and officials from the visiting Pacific Island Nations and Niue team. All who have shared the same hope to win more medals today and tomorrow.
“All of our Niuean competitors competed yesterday and we are so pleased with the achievements. We came away with six golds and two silvers.”
“Niue has three competitors today. Two in the Masters Tony Edwards and John Kaulima and we have in the sub junior division in the afternoon Hipa Tuhipa. The rest of the team will compete in the 84 kg+ categories tomorrow. We are really looking forward to some really good results for our team for today and tomorrow’s competition,” says Niue Team Manager Angela Tuhipa.
Nauru Powerlifting Federation Vice President and lifter Roy Harris says that “we arrived here with the expectation of trying to do our best in this lifting, hoping to win some medals to bring back home. On the first day we managed to claim gold, 17 of them if I get the numbers correct.”
Solomon Islands Team Manager from the Solomon Island Powerlifting Federation Andrew Tuhaika told BCN News that “it’s an eye opener for us because there’s a lot of things that we haven’t covered back at home we have covered here. I am very happy about this competition. I am so thankful that Niue opened this opportunity for us to come over here and compete.”
“We hope to get a few golds back to the country as of yesterday we got three medals, and I hope today and tomorrow will be another three or four medals,” says Andrew.
63-year-old Tonga Powerlifting Federation President, athlete and grandfather Lord Tuiha’ateiho is optimistic of the opportunities that anyone can do anything and at any age.
“Yesterday we had a beautiful day, we got three golds and today it appears to be the same. The reason why I am here is to show the young athletes that there’s an opportunity. I am a 63 year old man, I got grandkids and I still participate. Not only it makes my mind sharper but it makes my body sharper,” says Lord.
The final day of the championship is tomorrow. Niue Powerlifting Federation invites and welcomes the public to join and support the tournament being held at the Pacific Way Bar.
The event is also being live streamed by RockSteady Entertainment Facebook Page.
Teams from Nauru, Tonga and the Solomon Islands will be returning back to their homelands this Saturday.
BCN News will provide an extended version of the outcome and results from the tournament tomorrow on TV NIUE at 8pm.