Australian flagbearer leads weightlifting medal charge at Samoa 2019

Erika Yamasaki won Australia's first gold medals of the Games. Picture: INSIDE THE GAMES

APIA, 12 JULY 2019 (INSIDE THE GAMES) – Australian athletes starred on the second day of weightlifting competition at the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games here as they swept the gold medals in both women’s events.

Erika Yamasaki led the Australian team out at the Opening Ceremony on Sunday (July 7) having been handed flagbearer duties.

She would also lead their challenge in the women’s 59 kilogram competition where she produced an impressive series of lifts to claim three golds.

Yamasaki managed 80kg in the snatch and 103kg in the clean and jerk, which gave her a winning total of 183kg overall.

She would edge Jenly Wini by one kilogram in both the disciplines, with the Solomon Islands athlete ending on 181kg in total to finish with three silver medals.

A close competition also saw Lee Seen finish narrowly behind the top two, as she clinched the overall bronze with 179kg.

The Australian achieved 78kg in the snatch and 101kg in the clean and jerk to secure three podium finishes.

Further Australian success followed in the women’s 64kg division where Kiana Elliott emerged as the gold medallist in all three disciplines.

Elliott won the clean and jerk due to having a lighter bodyweight than New Zealand’s Megan Signal, after both athletes had lifted 114kg.

Sarah Cochrane, also of Australia, was two kilograms behind.

A superb lift of 99kg in the snatch saw Elliott finish seven kilograms clear of second placed team-mate Cochrane, with Signal third on 89kg.

The same podium would be repeated in the overall with Elliot on 213kg, followed by Cochrane and Signal on 204kg and 203kg respectively.

Papua New Guinea’s Morea Baru produced a Commonwealth and Oceania record of 284kg to win the men’s 61kg event, with a snatch of 124kg and a 160kg clean and jerk.

Cester Ramohaka was second on 226kg with the Solomon Islands lifter achieving 99kg and 127kg in the two disciplines, while Samoa’s John Tafi managed 95kg and 115kg to end third on 210kg overall.

There was drama in the mixed team badminton competition where Tahiti had looked like near certainties to claim the gold medal after winning their opening five matches of the tournament.

A 3-2 defeat to New Caledonia in their final fixture would ultimately prove costly as the top seeds dropped to bronze medal position.

New Caledonia ended with an identical record of five wins and a defeat in second place.

It was left to Fiji to snatch the gold medal after they achieved two 5-0 victories in their final fixtures.

The results saw them end level with New Caledonia and Tahiti but the third seeds won the title on count-back with the biggest margin on games won to lost.

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