WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP GOLD LIFTER TELLS HER STORY
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