Weightlifting gold for Yamasaki and Elliott on Day 3 of Samoa 2019
10 July 2019
SAMOA 2019: Erika Yamasaki (59kg) and Kiana Elliott (64kg) have won Australia’s first gold medals of the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games.
After she was disappointed with her snatch lifts - lifting 80kg and missing 83kg twice - Yamasaki bounced back in the clean and jerks with a best of 103kg to win Pacific Games gold with a total of 183kg.
In doing so, she also won Oceania Championships gold, and Commonwealth Championships bronze, as the competitions are held in conjunction with the Pacific Games.
The 30-year-old from Ipswich said she felt “relieved” with her performance, as it’s “another stepping stone towards the Tokyo Olympics.”
“I was so worried things weren’t going to pull together, so I’m just so happy I was able to get all three clean and jerk lifts. Each lift was really important to be able to win that gold medal,” she said.
The Aussie Flag Bearer, who also won gold at the last Pacific Games in 2015, wiped away tears as the National Anthem played, saying it’s been an emotional journey since she was injured before the Rio Olympics, to get to where she is today.
“Trying to make this comeback has been a really difficult road, so each time I’m on that podium it’s just proving to myself that I can do it, and that this isn’t my last run.
“With all the encouragement, support and having the privilege and honour of being Flag Bearer, all these things add up so I’m really hoping over the next year I can do Australia proud.”
Yamasaki was joined on the podium by London 2012 Olympian and teammate Seen Lee in the bronze medal position. Jenly Wini, from the Solomon Islands, won the silver with 181kg.
Seen lifted 78kg in the snatch and 101kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 179kg.
The 36-year-old said she felt “euphoric” with her result, as she had been sick earlier in the week and was uncertain if she’d be able to perform.
“I’d really like to thank our medical staff for going above and beyond, along with the coaching staff and the AOC staff for having faith in me, it was really great I could pull it together for everyone and come out with the bronze medal.
“I feel amazing right now, I might hurt a little bit tomorrow, but it’s worth it.”
Kiana Elliott was up a couple of hours later, along with teammates Sarah Cochrane and Youth weightlifter Tori Gallegos.
21-year-old Elliott lifted 99kg in the snatch, a new Oceania record, and 114kg in the clean and jerk to win the gold with a new Australian Record total of 213kg.
In doing so, Elliott is the new Oceania Champion and Commonwealth Championships silver medallist.
Elliot said she was “absolutely ecstatic” with her golden performance today.
“I only hit the 99kg snatch in training a few weeks ago, and that was huge for me – it took two and a half years to add that 1kg to my PB,” the five-time consecutive National champion said.
“Going out there today, I knew I’d hit the 99 in training so I could do it in competition. However international comps are so different to National championships. It’s a different climate, different living conditions, different food, your regular coach isn’t there – so you really don’t know how you’re going to go.
“The gains become harder the longer you’re in the sport, so just that 1 extra kilogram feels amazing.
"My previous Total PB was 210kg from the last Nationals, so to add 3kg to my personal best feels pretty damn significant.”
Cochrane was just behind Elliot, securing the silver medal with a Personal Best (PB) total of 204kg (92kg snatch, 112kg, clean and jerk).
“I was hoping for a total over 200kg, and I got 204. Every lift was a competition PB so definitely can’t complain!” Cochrane said.
Megan Signal from New Zealand rounded out the podium in third, only 1kg behind Cochrane on 203kg.
In other results on Day 3…
Australia’s mixed archery team of Astin Darcy and Alice Ingley went head-to-head with New Zealand in the gold-medal match, with Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification up for grabs.
Both teams won four sets each in the final, taking the event into a sudden-death shoot-off where each athlete had one shot.
The Kiwi team of Olivia Hodgson and Adam Kaluzny proved too strong, with Kaluzny hitting bullseye under pressure to score 10 points. Along with Hodgson, their total of 18 in the shoot-off was too good for Darcy and Ingley’s combined score of 16.
Australia has already qualified three male archers for Tokyo 2020 and will have another chance of qualifying a female spot at the 2020 Oceania Championships in Fiji.
In beach volleyball, Britt Kendall and Stef Weiler were defeated in three sets by American Samoa in the morning. They then faced Palau in the afternoon where they needed a win to advance to the quarter-final. They defeated Palau 2-0 and will now play Vanuatu in Thursday’s quarter finals.
Laser Radial sailor Paris Van Den Herik had another strong day on the water and remains in second place overall after finishing 5th, 2nd and 4th in today’s three races.