She is none other than Luisa Peters.
The professional weightlifter is not new to the global sporting platform as she has represented the Cook Islands in the past, especially at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Peters competed in the women’s 75+ kg category in London, finishing with a total of 182 kg in 12th place. She also competed in the women’s 75+ kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, finishing with a total of 225 kg and ranked sixth.
Travelling with Peters is Unakea Kauvai; the president of the Cook Islands Weightlifting Federation who said he is very proud of his athlete and cannot wait to see her rock the Olympic sporting stage.
“Luisa is a highly placed athlete in the Pacific region and won a Commonwealth medal in 2014,” says Kauvai.
“Lately she has been training hard at the Oceania Weightlifting Federation Institute in New Caledonia. She has made big personal sacrifices – being away from her family in New Zealand and the Cook Islands - just to chase her sporting dream representing the Cook Islands in her chosen sport at the highest level.”
Kauvai says: “There is nothing bigger for any athletes’ career than participating at the Olympics and Luisa is definitely our most accomplished female weightlifter.”
He adds that Luisa is also a great role model for other emerging young Cook Islands lifters, such as 17-year-old Manine Lynch. The CIWF began in the 1980s under the vision and direction of the late Tony Hole who was passionate that Olympic weightlifting was a code that the Cook Islands were naturally gifted at, being very strong for the height and weight.
Kauvai said Hole would be hugely proud of Luisa going to Rio.
“He always encouraged our local weightlifters who then went on to compete and represent at the highest levels, such as those from the Kauvai, Pera, Tupa and Tererui families.
“The CIWF would like to thank CISNOC, the sponsors and the public for getting behind their move to help young lifters like Luisa and others achieve their best.”
Her mother Mona Peters will be self-funding her attendance at the Olympics to support her daughter in Rio.