Steven Kari has won the Pacific’s first gold medal of the Commonwealth Games with a record-breaking lift on the Gold Coast.
Defending the men’s 94kg weightlifting title he won in Glasgow, the Papua New Guinean trailed Canada’s Boady Santavy by 14kgs after the snatch.
But he responded in stunning fashion to lift 216kg in the clean and jerk, shattering the Commonwealth record by six kilograms and the Games record by 11 in a dramatic finish at Carrara Sports Arena.
The monster lift gave him a total of 370kg, pipping his Canadian rival by one kilogram, and Kari insists he always backed himself to deliver.
“I believe anything that my coach gives me to win gold, that’s what my belief is. It doesn’t matter that (I have to lift) 216-217kg but I want to win gold, to lift to win the gold.”
Steven Kari’s triumph also secured a 100th Commonwealth Games medal for his coach, Paul Coffa from the Oceania Weightlifting Institute, with whom he shared an emotional embrace after clinching gold.
“He’s just like a son to me. Actually, in fact, he is a son. He stayed with us for 10 years and he wanted this medal at all cost. No one was going to take it away. We needed 216kg – if it was 220kg he would have gone for 220kg. You know the eye of the tiger? The way he came out no one was going to stop him and he did it,” Coffa said.
Weightlifting concludes today with David Katoatau from Kiribati defending his gold medal in the men’s 105kg division, while Fiji’s Commonwealth record holder Eileen Cikamatana is the overwhelming favourite to win the women’s 90kg category.
SOURCE: Radio New Zealand