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Lifters eye 2012 Olympics

Tuesday 21 December 2010 | Published in Regional

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Based on recent successful weightlifting results, the Cook Islands could see all three of its lifters competing at the 2012 London Olympics.

Lifters Sam Pera Jnr and Luisa Peters returned home at the weekend with a four medal haul from the recent International Weightlifting Federation’s Intercontinental Club Grand Prix and Commonwealth Senior and Junior Championships in Penang, Malaysia.

Twenty one-year-old Pera Jnr won a silver medal in the 105kg+ men’s division from a total life of 312kg (172kg snatch and 140kg clean and jerk).

Pera took a break from weightlifting and last lifted at the Pacific Mini Games last year in Rarotonga.

He was inspired by his brother Sirla Pera and Luisa Peters who performed well at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

He says that after seeing the overall results of the Pacific Islands lifters at the Delhi Games – he felt that had he continued to train and prepare for the games he would have returned home with a medal.

“When I saw the results from the games – I should have gone,” says Pera.

And with this renewed confidence Pera is now looking forward to the future with his eye on a 2012 London Olympic medal.

Pera’s ultimate aim is to lift a total of 400kg – 180kg snatch and 220kg clean and jerk.

For sole female lifter Luisa Peters – three gold medals at the recent Penang meet has only strengthened her determination and commitment to weightlifting.

The 17-year old set a new personal best in Penang with a total lift of 156kg in the women’s 75kg+ division with a lift of 66kg in the snatch and 90kg in the clean and jerk.

Luisa also plans to represent the Cook Islands at the Olympics and her aim is to lift a total of 160kg.

But the pair admit that training can be a bit ‘boring’ due to the fact that they don’t have a big group of lifters to push them on and compete with locally.

“But that’s sports,” says Pera.

It’s for this reason that the islands three lifters need to travel and compete regularly to gauge and assess the success of their regular training programme.

But travelling is costly and without the support of their generous sponsors and family the local lifters would not develop into the world class athletes that they are today.

In the meantime both Pera and Peters are taking a two week break before joining fellow lifter Sirla Pera back in the lifting gym to prepare for the Arafura Games in Australia in April.

The weightlifting family would like to thank all their sponsors for their generosity in continuing to support the island’s three lifters Sam, Luisa and Sirla.