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Young weightlifter Puni sets new benchmarks at Auckland comp

Wednesday 22 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Other Sports, Sports

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Young weightlifter Puni sets new benchmarks at Auckland comp
Rising star Etoa Puni has emerged at the top of his division in the 2024 Auckland Secondary Schools Weightlifting Championships. He is pictured with the Cook Islands national coach Luisa Peters. SUPPLIED/24052102

Fifteen-year-old rising star from the Cook Islands, Etoa Puni, emerged at the top of his division in the 2024 Auckland Secondary Schools Weightlifting Championships held over the weekend in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Although Puni does not attend school in Auckland, he was invited to compete as a guest in the men under 67-kilogram weight category in the 15 years and under age group event where he showcased his talent and determination.

His results were impressive, smashing his clean and jerk personal best by 10kg.

Puni achieved a total score of 157kg and has accomplished a personal best for his clean and jerk of 90kg.

His total lift could have earned him first place in his age group but he competed as a guest since he does not attend an Auckland secondary school.

Puni is a member of the Cook Islands Weightlifting Federation’s youth development squad and has demonstrated his potential to significantly impact the international weightlifting stage.

For several years he has been training under the expertise of Luisa Peters, the federation president and national coach. Peters accompanied him to Auckland for the competition.

Puni is a Year 11 student at Tereora College and hails from the Tupa family in Nikao, Tupapa, and Enuamanu Atiu. He is the second eldest child of proud parents Dr. Teariki Puni and Rebecca Puni.

The Cook Islands Weightlifting Federation would like to acknowledge Vodafone Cook Islands as a visionary sponsor of its youth development programme and Weightlifting New Zealand for allowing its local athletes to compete in their competitions.

The organisation would also like to thank all the families and supporters who continue to support Cook Islands weightlifting.