The New Zealand Herald

Liti delights the crowd with a surprise weightlift­ing gold


Andrew Alderson

on the Gold Coast The job of upholding New Zealand’s reputation at the Commonweal­th Games weightlift­ing fell to David Liti in the 105kg+ category.

He offered nothing short of outrageous courage and brilliant theatre to secure gold in a sport he once thought was “boring”.

With apologies to Led Zeppelin, his job was to be a rock and not to roll for the Kiwi contingent last night at the Carrara Sport and Leisure Centre.

His first snatch saw him put 166kg on the bar — 1kg more than his own mass. He lifted it like lint off a jersey.

Bizarrely, Liti was denied a second lift courtesy of a timing glitch. The origins of the error remain unknown as yet. He popped his earphones aside, returned to ping up 174kg and blew a kiss at the judges.

He duelled with Pakistan’s Muhammad Nooh Dastgir Butt and Samoa’s Lui Lauititi as they ratcheted up the plates and swapped the lead among themselves.

Lui sat in the gold medal position, but passed out on stage with his final lift. After medical staff had removed his groggy form via wheelchair, Liti was faced with a Commonweal­th record 229kg from his final attempt. His composure remained resolute and he posted the bar up to triumph with a combined weight of 403kg. Butt lifted last, but unsuccessf­ully. Earlier, one of the best sounds at the Games was the applause accompanyi­ng Laurel Hubbard’s arrival onto the 90kg+ platform. One of the worst was seeing her cry out as her elbow appeared to hyperflex while attempting a Commonweal­th record 132kg for her final snatch lift.

She lit the fuse by nailing 120kg with her first lift. However, the pyrotechni­cs fizzled when she left the stage holding her elbow in agony. Hubbard decided she was unfit to advance to the clean and jerk round.

“As far as I can tell, I have ruptured a ligament in my left elbow, but until we get an MRI or further scanning, the extent of the injury is not known.

“It’s obviously a difficult time, but the one thing I’m happiest about is that I tried to reach my best performanc­e. This [the injury] happens sometimes, but that’s sport.

“We can always go back and rerun these things in our heads, but the truth is unless we try to be the best person and athlete we can be, then really we’re not being true to sport. I’m happy with the decision I made to take those weights.”

Samoa’s Feagaiga Stowers, 17, went

on to take the title.

“I’m unhappy having to withdraw from the competitio­n, but I gave it everything I had. I can sleep well knowing that,” Hubbard said.

“The Australian crowd was magnificen­t. They really made me try for that last lift.”

Teammate Tracey Lambrechs also had support through an army of family and friends.

The 32-year-old finished fifth in the rejigged 90kg class, and retired from the sport.

 ?? Picture / Getty Images ?? New Zealand’s (big) surprise package David Liti blows the judges a kiss after grabbing gold last night.
Picture / Getty Images New Zealand’s (big) surprise package David Liti blows the judges a kiss after grabbing gold last night.

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