WORLD YOUTH CHAM­PI­ONSHIP GOLD LIFTER TELLS HER STORY

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Eileen Cika­matana can now en­joy her choco­lates af­ter cre­at­ing his­tory at the In­ter­na­tional Weightlift­ing Fed­er­a­tion (IWF) 2016 World Youth Cham­pi­onship in Malaysia last week. The Taviya, Ovalau, na­tive won the coun­try’s first gold medal in the World Youth Cham­pi­onship. The 17-year-old com­peted in the women’s 69 kilo­grammes (kg) cat­e­gory, where she snatched gold in the clean and jerk with a lift of 122kg and a bronze medal when she lifted a to­tal weight of 215kg, with 93kg in the snatch.

TRAIN­ING REGIME Speak­ing to SUNs­ports yes­ter­day, Cika­matana talked about the sac­ri­fices she had to go through as she pre­pared for Malaysia, which was also her first trip out of the Ocea­nia re­gion. “I went through a lot this year and one of my big­gest sac­ri­fices was that I had to con­cen­trate on my train­ing over my stud­ies since I had to train at the Ocea­nia Weightlift­ing In­sti­tute in New Cale­do­nia,” she said. “Its nine months since I have been train­ing there and I only call my fam­ily in the week­ends since our di­rec­tor Paul Coffa had con­fis­cated our mo­bile phones. “He only gives it to us in week­ends and that’s the only time I talk to my fam­ily, it was hard at first but as it went on I got used to it.”

NUTRI­TION Cika­matana said nutri­tion is para­mount in her prepa­ra­tion and it was dif­fi­cult for her as a teenager to let go of her choco­lates.

“I didn’t eat my favourite choco­lates, car­bo­hy­drates and other junk foods in or­der to main­tain my body weight. “It was re­ally hard but now that the cham­pi­onship is over I can en­joy my choco­lates.”

NER­VOUS START Look­ing back to the WYC, Cika­matana says, when she first stood on the stage she was ner­vous. “But I slowly gained con­fi­dence af­ter my first at­tempt and there was no look­ing back. I had to put on a strong per­for­mance in my sec­ond clean and jerk at­tempt to re­turn home with a gold medal.

“I was very happy af­ter my lift, I knew I was pre­par­ing for al­most five months for this cham­pi­onship and the sup­port of my fam­ily back home was over­whelm­ing. “I know I wouldn’t do it with­out them. My mum Mak­i­tal­ena waited for me at the air­port when we ar­rived on Sun­day and she just hugged me and con­grat­u­lated me on my achieve­ment.”

SPE­CIAL RECOG­NI­TION Cika­matana was also awarded the 2016 IWF World Youth Cham­pi­onship Over­all Fe­male Best Lifter, which was a proud mo­ment for Fiji and the Ocea­nia coun­tries as well. “I want to thank Jo Vueti for bring­ing me to the sport. Spe­cial thanks to Paul Coffa and his wife Lily for look­ing af­ter me for nine months. Also to Weightlift­ing Fiji and Government for their sup­port, my fam­ily and friends and all those who had sup­ported me. A spe­cial ac­knowl­edge­ment to Pat­ter­son Brothers for al­ways sup­port­ing us fi­nan­cially,” Cika­matana added. The Taviya vil­lager re­minded youths that ded­i­ca­tion is the key to suc­cess. “If you want to achieve some­thing you have to com­mit to it if I can do it, I know ev­ery­one else can. My New Year’s res­o­lu­tion is to move a step fur­ther and achieve my tar­gets.”

WAY FOR­WARD Cika­matana said she is go­ing to take a one-week break be­fore she re­sumes her prepa­ra­tion for the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games. While she com­peted in Malaysia, her fam­ily watched her per­for­mance through livestream from home and her mum Mak­i­tal­ena ac­knowl­edges ev­ery­one who has helped them fi­nan­cially. “I want to thank ev­ery­body who has sup­ported my fam­ily dur­ing fundrais­ing drives lead­ing up to the games,” she said. The fam­ily is now plan­ning to build a gym in Taviya vil­lage to as­sist Naqaliduna youths. “We are just pass­ing the mes­sage out to those who wants to help. They can con­trib­ute in cash or in kind to help youths of Naqaliduna. “Eileen can come and help these youths train,” she added. Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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