Tehei Napa and Martin Stetka are looking forward to the 2022 Cook Islands Games. 22090708
An overwhelming number of 94 weightlifters have registered to participate in the upcoming Cook Islands Games which starts in two weeks.
However, it is expected that some athletes will drop
out due to injuries and with some having registered in several other sports
codes and may drop weightlifting.
Martin Stetka, the Cook Islands Weightlifting
Federation executive board member and team manager of the national team, said: “So,
we are looking at maybe 80 to 85 lifters which is about the same as the first
Cook Islands Games competition two years ago.”
This time around the weightlifting competition will be
held at the National Auditorium – a bigger and better venue and a better
competition platform, with bigger warm up area and lots of space for the
Stetka said many of the lifters who took part in the
last games in 2020 have stuck with the sport and “have progressed exceptionally
so we’re expecting and looking at it to be definitely a higher quality of
competition in regards of the athletes and their results”.
An Olympic weightlifting competition consists of two
different lifts. One is called the “Snatch” – this is pretty much when the
lifter takes the barbell from the floor to an overhead position in a single
motion, an explosive and athletic movement. The “Clean and Jerk” lift starts
with the barbell on the floor and sees the lifter take it overhead in two
separate motions – cleaning it to the shoulders, pausing, and then jerking (or
thrusting) it overhead to a full lockout.
People may think weightlifting looks like its about
the strength of the hands, but actually the most important part is the strength
of the legs, says Stetka.
“Legs can generate the most power on the body, so you
are trying to use the legs as much as you can and pretty much lift the bar from
the bar to overhead in a straight line … the objective is to get the bar from
the ground overhead in a certain way,” Stetka explains.
Some athletes who have joined weightlifting took it up
as their main sport and others as a complementary training for a main sport.
“It develops explosive power and usually it tends to
be sprinters because they need the quick burst of energy of power,” Stetka
“Any serious athlete considers weightlifting in their
training because of the development of explosive power.”
The upcoming Cook Islands Games will see a high-quality
weightlifting competition and will serve as the national championship where the
Federation will be considering the results as a possible qualifier for the 2023
“Overall, as a Federation we are at the stage where we
are really trying to grow the sport in the country. We are trying to generate
real high quality in weightlifting, that people will want to take on
weightlifting as a main sport and a career.”
The current national weightlifting team comprises Manine
Lynch who competed at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and at the Pacific Games
with Jerome Tura,
A young prospect who just turned 15 is the amazing
Briseis Crighton. She’s ready to lift for Team Pukapuka on Tuesday 4 and
Wednesday 5 October at the National Auditorium.
Lifter Tehei Napa is representing Team Mangaia in weightlifting for the first time in the Games.
“I’m nervous and excited, I’m lifting for my
grandfather - Ngametua Vaineritua’s island, he absolutely loves his island Mangaia,
but it’s kinda weird because he hates weightlifting,” said Napa.
She admits that she used to hate weights and hated the
“But now it’s quite exciting having all that power and
I watch a lot of (weightlifting) videos, it’s quite cool.”
Napa encourage girls to have a go at the sport and has
committed to training for the competition.