Opeloge could win first Olympic medal

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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GOLDEN GIRL: Ele Opeloge lifted 79kg at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and could be confirmed as Samoa’s first-ever, Olympic medallist.

GOLDEN GIRL: Ele Opeloge lifted 79kg at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and could be confirmed as Samoa’s first-ever, Olympic medallist.

Weightlifter Ele Opeloge could be Samoa’s first ever Olympic medalist after silver and bronze medalist in the women’s 75kg+ lifters from the Beijing 2008 Olympics tested positive in the doping samples re-test. 

Opeloge finished a heartbreaking 4th place in Beijing eight years ago missing out on bronze medal by a mere 1kg behind bronze medalist Maria Grabovetskaya of Kazakhstan. 

Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, President of Samoa Weightlifting Federation and Coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork said he was happy about the news.

However, the lengthy process has already taken its glory away, he added. 

“It’s fantastic for Ele and for us in the Pacific and Samoa that we finally have a (Olympic) medal,” Tuaopepe told the Samoa Observer. 

“Ele deserves it for all her hard work. My disappointment is the fact that it has taken eight years for the results to be out and the event has lost its glory and height of winning the medal. 

I am also disappointed for those countries that continue to use hard drug which is not fair for us especially for Ele who did not get a fair playing ground.”

 According to the President, the Association is waiting for an official confirmation from the International Olympic Committee. 

He suspects that will take a week or two and a member from the I.O.C. will be in the country to make the presentation. 

Meanwhile, Tuaopepe is excited about the news and said there will be a special ceremony to present the medal to Ele and for the country to celebrate. 

Eleven weightlifters face being stripped off their medals from the Beijing Olympics after failing retest of their doping samples. 

Two of the weightlifters likely to be stripped of their medals are the silver and bronze medalists in the women's 75kg+ event, Olha Korobka of Ukraine and Mariya Grabovetskaya from Kazakhstan.

The 11 medallists tested positive for a range of banned substances, says the International Weightlifting Federation.

Among those to fail are gold medallists Cao Lei, Liu Chunhong and Chen Xiexia. 

The other eight medallists to test positive are from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

Andrei Rybakou of Belarus, who holds the 85kg world record with a 187kg snatch and won silver in 2008, tested positive in the retests. 

The others to fail are Anastasia Novikova of Belarus, Kazakhstan's Maria Grabovetskaya and Irina Nekrasova, Russia's Khadzhimurat Akkaev and Dmitry Lapikov and Ukraine's Natalya Davydova and Olha Korobka. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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