ELITE Pacific island weightlifters joined gold medal-winning weightlifter Eileen Cikamatan in Dromana on Friday 24 March, as they trained for the Pacific Elite International Weightlifting Tournament in Hawthorn on Saturday.
The Samoan athletes were brought to Dromana by peninsula resident and international weightlifting coach Paul Cogga MBE who said he wanted to give peninsula residents a chance to see the athletes in action before the weekend tournament.
After competing and the working as Australia’s national coach, Cogga moved to Nauru decades ago as weightlifting was taking off around the Pacific, before moving back to Australia during the pandemic.
Fijian-born Cikamatan, who also moved to the Mornington Peninsula during COVID to train at Cogga’s Dromana gym, was a star attraction of the tournament.
Cogga – who was last year inducted into the IWF Hall of Fame after more than 60 years of service to the sport – said the athletes were “superstars” who had a good chance of winning gold at the next Commonwealth Games.
He said Saturday’s tournament gave the audience three hours of “world-class weightlifting”.