Lifters aim to top 30-medal tally

At the March 6 weightlifting competition, Jortake Tomare of Woja (pictured) took second place in the snatch, clean and jerk and total lift weight behind Youth Olympic Games Olympian and Oceania medalist Joshua Ralpho, representing Iolap. Photo:

Ministry of Education, Training and Sport/PSS, the national federations and the sporting community are grateful that Majuro Atoll Local Government (MALGov) expanded the sports competition list for Majuro Day, allowing sports that don’t have many opportunities for competition to do so in preparations for the Micronesian Games to be hosted here in the summer of 2022.

“Marshall Islands National Olympic Committee (MINOC) and the 2022 Micronesian Games Organizing Committee hosted a very successful meeting with MALGov where Mayor Ladie Jack made the decision to add all of the Micronesian Games sports to this year’s Majuro Day Games, which MINOC uses as its Club Championships,” said Majuro Nitijela Member Tony Muller, new co-chair of the 2022 Micronesian Games Organizing Committee.

The venue for the first weightlifting competition held during this year’s Majuro Day Club Championships was the new practice facility for table tennis and weightlifting that is located in Delap across from the Japanese Embassy. Led by national coach Terry Sasser and coach Ata Bureka, weightlifting’s recent talent identification program has seen success with more lifters participating in a national competition as they are in full-scale preparations for the 2022 Micronesian Games.

Coach Ata also teaches at PSS’ Life Skills Academy (LSA) and has been successfully recruiting students as lifters. The talent identification program continues to focus on filling the eight men’s and eight women’s weight classes.

There are 48 total medals up for grabs in the 2022 Micronesian Games weightlifting competition. Team Marshall Islands’ goal is to top its medal count of 30 at each of the last two Micronesian Games in Pohnpei and Yap. Next summer’s weightlifting competition promises to be highly competitive as Kiribati and Nauru are expected to bring large teams due to their close proximity and easy travel to the Marshall Islands, along with the growth of weightlifting in Micronesia.

“With the Micro Games being hosted on Majuro Atoll, MALGov wants to assist in every way possible to capitalize on the investment made by RMI national government to build all the facilities and to help prepare our athletes by utilizing the next two Majuro Day Games as important competition opportunities for athletes and training for coaches, officials and games administrative personnel,” said Mayor Jack.

A weightlifting tournament last Saturday began by holding a small competition for youth who are now nine-to-12 years of age in preparation for the next Youth Olympic Games (YOG) which will take place in 2026 in Senegal, Africa.

The weightlifting competition was run as if it were an official International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) sanctioned event. Training for technical officials in the proper use of time clocks and special competition software was coordinating by assistant coach Jakkon Sasser. This provided both athletes and technical officials with a realistic competition environment simulation, which was especially important as there have been no off-island competitions for over a year now due to the Covid pandemic.

In the female competition, Rairok’s Niti Atantaake had the best Sinclair rating for her snatch. Despite missing her first two lifts, the coaches added more weight to give her the opportunity to advance and she delivered her final lift for the win. Uliga’s Marean Atantaake took second in the snatch, but came back to win the clean and jerk competition, pushing Niti to second place. Kamwea Tibwee, lifting for Delap, is in a higher weight class but lifted an impressive 75kg (over 150 pounds) to take third in all three events.
The men’s tournament was very competitive, especially between the four top lifters, all of whom are previous Micro Games gold medalists and two who have medaled in Oceania Championships.

Noticeably missing from the competition was Kabuati Bob, gold medalist from the last two Micro Games and silver medalist from the 2019 Pacific Games; he is currently in Fiji completing quarantine in the process of returning from Samoa where he has been stranded since the start of the pandemic. Kabuati, who was in Samoa for an elite training camp in his efforts to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games, lifted a personal best of 180kg (396 pounds) clean and jerk while training abroad.

Lobat’s Mike Riklon took third, passing Iolap’s Raymond River on the final lift. However, River came back in the clean and jerk competition to secure third place in the both clean and jerk and total for Iolap.

Jortake Tamare from Woja placed second in snatch, clean and jerk and total behind YOG Olympian and Oceania medalist Joshua Ralpho, representing Iolap. Ralpho showed his experience winning the men’s competition in all three events with his final lift of 140kg (over 308 pounds).

Marshall Islands’ weightlifting team is determined to bring its best Micro Games results and is well into its preparations to deliver on that goal.
On the technical side, a mathematical formula is used to measure the strength and efficiency of weightlifters, including here in the RMI.

The “Sinclair Coefficient” is a mathematical formula which determines pound-for-pound who is the strongest competitor across weight classes adjusted each Olympic year and based on the Total World Records.

The Sinclair Total is calculated by taking an athlete’s weight, gender and best results from the snatch, clean and jerk and the combined total of the two lifts and multiplying that number by the Sinclair Coefficient.

The Majuro Day Weightlifting Championships included three events: snatch, clean and jerk, and combined total, with results calculated using the Sinclair Total.

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