Marshall Islands weightlifter Mathlynn “Mattie” Sasser made history for the RMI at the American Open earlier this month, beating 64 of the best women weightlifters in the US to win a silver medal, while breaking an Oceania Junior record that has stood for 14 years.
Marshall Islands Weightlifting Federation’s (MIWLF) national lifters Sasser and Kabuati “Tao” Bob competed for the first time at the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships in Houston, Texas and the 2015 American Open in Reno, Nevada recently.
Despite nursing an injured shoulder, Tao competed against 171 other lifters at the American Open, snatched 120KG (265LB) and cleaned and jerked 160KG (353LB) for 22nd place. “It was really frustrating,” said Tao, “because I know I am much stronger than these lifts, but my shoulder injury prevented me from lifting the weights I am capable of.”
Mattie was up against 65 of America’s top female lifters in the 58KG category. She again snatched 80KG (176LB), which put her in fourth place. After the snatch portion of the competition, Mattie found herself 7KG behind a third place podium finish. While her final and best clean and jerk lift at the Pacific Games was 97KG, her first clean and jerk on the scoreboard at the American Open was 100KG.
“We knew Mattie had a stronger clean and jerk than the two American lifters who were her main competition,” said Coach Terry. “We were confident that if she was able to reach her full potential, she could make up the snatch difference with her clean and jerk lift.”
Mattie’s successful 102KG opening clean and jerk secured the American Open clean and jerk bronze medal. But she wanted to make a stronger statement and take an American Open medal for her overall total, requiring a heavier lift.
“I was sitting in the holding room next to the other remaining lifter,” said Mattie. “Just before I went out for my 105KG lift, my coach came over and said, ‘Do this for yourself. Do this for your country. Do this for Iroijalplap Jurelang. It is time for you to deliver.’ Walking up the steps to the platform, I gave myself no excuse. There were Marshallese friends watching my competition and I knew there were many watching the live web streaming back home. I had lifted this weight earlier in the week during practice and now it was time to do it in competition. This weight was going up.”
And it did. Her successful 105KG (231LB) clean and jerk secured the clean and jerk silver medal and the bronze medal for her overall total. With one lift remaining, the only challenge left was the Oceania Junior record that had stood for 15 years.
“Breaking the Oceania Junior record is a personal goal I have that I have been working and training toward for a long time,” said Mattie.
Mattie’s successful 106KG (233.69LB) clean and jerk won the American Open clean and jerk silver medal, the American Open bronze medal for her overall total (186KG/410LB) and broke the Oceania Junior clean and jerk record held by Tyoni Batsiua of Nauru since 2001.
Read more about this in the December 18, 2015 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.