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Champion Fijian goes into battle for her new home

Eileen Cikamatana was the Flagbearer for Fiji at the 2017 Mini South Pacific Games in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Photo Credit: Fiji Weightlifting Federation.

Commonwealth gold medallist Eileen Cikamatana will take part in the online 2021 Oceania Weightlifting Federation Online Cup in Australian colours this weekend.

Cikamatana, who won gold medals for Fiji in the 2018 Commonwealth Games before switching allegiance to Australia, will compete in the competition scheduled for June 26 and 27, which will feature 45 lifters from 12 Oceanic countries.

The darling of Fiji in the weightlifting competition after winning gold during the mini South Pacific Games, the South Pacific Games and Oceania Games over several years as a teenager, moved to Australia in 2019.

Her record in the 87 kilogram category stands at a total of 272 kg total and she is one of four Australian female athletes competing on Saturday.

The OWF has for the second year running started its Online League Tournament with the opening round on the first weekend of June. The League, which resemble football, is being held online, not only in response to the pandemic but for convenience and accessibility

“It was implemented last year (2020) due to the fact that all competitions in our region were cancelled because of the pandemic,” said organiser and Oceania Weightlifting General Secretary Paul Coffa.

“The only way that I could get the region to compete was to initiate an online tournament.”

Different countries connect once a month to lift together and many have seen this initiative as a way to boost the competitive spirit that has been on pause due to the pandemic.

“Last year we had nine rounds with 19 countries competing. We also had prize money given by the Australian Federation with the first prize being $10,000,” Coffa said.

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