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Postcard Home: Bonjour from Wallis & Futuna,

The American Samoa Team as they walked in the parade that was a part of the welcoming ceremony for the Pacific Mini Games this year. [courtesy photo]

It is now Thursday evening Sept 5th, and we just returned from today’s weightlifting competition.  Today was even more intense than yesterday’s competition. The day itself was uneventful as Apineru Vaoga’s medal competition round was not slated to start until 5pm. 
 
As 3pm rolled around, we all made our way to the weigh-ins. Apineru weighed in at just over 118 kg.  
 
After introducing all the competitors, it was Apineru’s turn to take the stage in weightlifting’s heaviest and strongest weight class.  Competing at 105+kg, his group of competitors also included a lineup of veteran weightlifters such as Tovia Opeloge from Samoa who hails from a family of top weightlifters and Daniel Nemani from Nui who is currently training at the Olympic Institute of Weightlifting in New Caledonia. 
 
During the snatch event, Apineru easily cleared his first lift of 120kg matching his person best in competition, beating out Wallis & Futuna and Kiribati on their first lift.  In trying to beat his personal best Apineru was unfortunately unable to hit his final weight, missing his chance to medal in the snatch event. 
 
During the clean and jerk event, Apineru came out strong, clearing his starting weight of 145kg.  For Apineru’s second lift he put the weight up to 150kg to match is personal best in competition, which he was able to clear and lift as well.
 
For his third and final lift Apineru attempted to break his own personal record putting the weight up to 160kg.  Apineru put all he could into his record breaking lift but in the end was not able to clear the lift.
 
Apineru’s strong performance and total score from both lifts put him in 5th place over all, just shy of medaling. As one of the newest competitors to the sport in this group of veterans, Apineru’s future in weightlifting looks good.
 
Apineru’s impressive performance at the 2013 Oceania Weighting Championships in Australia in April this year and his strong performance here at the Pacific Mini Games, caught the eye of  World Level Weightlifting Coach and Oceania Wrestling Secretary General, Paul Coffa.
 
Coffa is the Head coach at the Olympic Weightlifting institute in New Caledonia.  Impressed with Apineru’s raw talents, Paul personally offered Apineru and Hasu training slots at the famous Olympic Training Center.  With this once in a lifetime opportunity on the table, both weightlifters have a lot to think about upon their return home.
 
In other news, we were able to get the results from today’s match up between our volleyball boys and New Caledonia.  During their previous encounter at the 2011 Pacific Games, New Caledonia had beaten American Samoa for the Bronze Medal.  However today, Team American Samoa dished out some payback with Salvation Mikaele & Sam Luaiva playing and coached by Josie Afu-muasau, beating New Caledonia in two straight sets.
 
Because the volleyball games are being played in Futuna, we have not been able to get photos from the games or any other details other than Team American Samoa is scheduled to play Tuvalu tomorrow.
 
That’s it for now. will send you another post card soon with more results.
 
Au revoir



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