Dominant Liti looks a star in the making

David Liti (21) snatches 153kg on the way to securing his third national Olympic weightlifting...
David Liti (21) snatches 153kg on the way to securing his third national Olympic weightlifting title at the Edgar Centre yesterday. Photo: Linda Robertson
Dunedin may have had a glimpse of New Zealand’s next world-class weightlifter yesterday.

David Liti was dominant in claiming his third consecutive senior national Olympic weightlifting title at the Edgar Centre.

The 21-year-old seemed to do it easily, as he snatched 153kg and clean and jerked 201kg, winning the men’s 105kg and over grade with a total of 354kg.

Indeed he did not even have to attempt a third clean and jerk, having already clinched the gold medal by an impressive 23kg over Aisake Tuitupou.

Liti was happy with the result, although he said he simply did what he came to do.Despite seemingly cruising, Liti said he had been anxious prior to his lifts.

"I was pretty nervous out the back. My arms were shaking, my legs were shaking, but on the main platform it was a different story."

Liti lives in Auckland, having been raised in Tonga, moving back to New Zealand — where he was born — at the age of 10.

Last year Liti set personal-bests of a 165kg snatch and 216kg clean and jerk, which are both junior national records.

He had achieved a 380kg total at the Australian Open in March to rank No1 in the Commonwealth.

That has given him a good chance for selection to next year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.

He had also been to junior world championships in Georgia last year to get some international experience. There he placed fourth in the snatch, one of the best results achieved by a New Zealander at the event.His major goal remains to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, something his coach, Tina Ball, said things were tracking well for.

Amanda Gould claimed a gold medal for Otago in the women’s 63kg grade.

She cracked a personal best of 81kg in the snatch, before equalling her clean and jerk PB with a lift of 95kg for a total of 176kg.

Jiro Ishida was also in the medals for Otago, managing a bronze in the men’s 69kg.

He had a total of 202kg, with a 91kg snatch and a 111kg clean and jerk.

Otago lifters Savannah-Rose Corbett, Owen Webb and Leigh Martel all achieved fourth-place finishes.

In the women’s 90kg and over grade, Aucklander Tracey Lambrechs was the comfortable winner with a total of 186kg, made up of a 86kg snatch and a 100kg clean and jerk.

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