Editorial comment – Top weightlifting prospect

Eileen Cikamatana takes during the Australian National Junior Weightlifting Championships at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday. Picture: SAM RUTTYN/ Sunday Telegraph

What else can we say but what a display of power and confidence!

Fijian youngster Eileen Cikamatana has etched her name in the history books, breaking 46 weightlifting records including three world records during the Australian National and Junior Weightlifting Championships in Sydney at the weekend.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist is now the number one junior weightlifter in her category in the world by 50 kilograms.

“Now I can tell myself that all the hard work in training is paying off,” Cikamatana told the Daily Telegraph.

“I feel very blessed and special,” she said.

“My inspiration was my parents because they have worked so hard to give me a bright future.”

The former Fiji champion once again declared her intention to represent Australia after a fallout with Weightlifting Fiji.

The revelation that Fiji may have lost a gold medal prospect for the next Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games is rather unfortunate.

In February this year, we were told that our Commonwealth Games 2018 champion had been given permanent residency status in Australia.

It came in the wake of her suspension by Weightlifting Fiji in June last year because of internal differences.

What will concern sports fans is the fact that we have a potential gold medallist right in front of us and we are allowing her to slip through our fingers.

Cikamatana won Fiji’s only gold medal in the Gold Coast after lifting 233kg in the women’s 90kg division.

She lifted 103kg in the snatch and 130kg in the clean and jerk — both in one attempt with two lifts to spare.

She holds three Commonwealth records in her weight class, and is an Olympian.

The young lifter hit the headlines last year in the wake of the arrival of Fiji’s new Iranian coach Hossein Tavakoli.

On September 18, Cikamatana who was suspended with members of the Levuka Weightlifting Club for internal differences with Weightlifting Fiji executives, will turn 20.

Fiji celebrated when Cikamatana won our only gold medal in Australia.

What has happened is unfortunate.

It is particularly sad to see a credible prospect slipping through our fingers.

This has to be raised, whether we like it or not. We realise there are processes, systems, and what is right and wrong.

There will be the issue of precedence and setting an example.

Here was a local champion destined for greatness. She spent years honing her skills and perfecting technique and building strength.

We also realise such champions do not just pop out of the woodworks.

We can only hope every effort was made to reach an amicable solution over the months of disagreement in Fiji.

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