On the first day of the Pacific Mini Games weightlifting competition, Marshall Islands’ Mathlynn “Mattie” Sasser dominated the women’s 63kg category, setting five Oceania and five Pacific Games records on her way to three gold medals.
Her 219kg (483lbs) total was 46kg (101lbs) above silver-medalist Amanda Gould of New Zealand and bronze-medalist Maximina Uepa of Nauru.
“I have been training very hard and my Dad (and coach) mentioned that the competition would not be very strong,” Mattie said. “Without the pressure of competitors, he challenged me to go for a perfect competition, six for six lifts” — which she did.
Mattie’s first snatch of 90kg (198lbs) was a competition personal best and she easily powered that weight up, breaking the Oceania and Pacific Games records on her final snatch of 96kg (212 lbs).
“After her record-breaking snatch, I knew the clean and jerk would be no problem,” said Coach Terry Sasser. “She was in her zone and I knew nothing would stop her except for small mistakes. My job was to keep her focused.”
Her second clean and jerk of 121kg (267lbs) broke the standing Oceania and Pacific Games records and her third lift of 123kg (271lbs) broke them all again and established a new 63kg Oceania and Pacific Games record total of 219kg (483lbs).
Teammate Tauati Noere battled for bronze in the 85kg category. His final clean and jerk attempt of 171kg (377 lbs) would have secured bronze if successful. He cleaned the weight, which was a personal best, but he just missed the jerk and the bronze medal.
Marshall Islands Weightlifting President Tony Muller said, “both of these lifters are remarkable. They train first thing in the morning and again in the evening six days a week.”
Runner Jeki Lanki competes this week in the 100 and 200 meter sprints.
Read more about this in the December 15, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.