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    Saturday, March 23, 2019-8:16:38P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Former powerlifting champ lays down Pacific challenge

MAJURO —  A former Oceania powerlifting champion has laid down a challenge to Pacific island weightlifters, saying a 15-year-old Marshall Islander will defeat all comers at the Oceania Powerlifting Championships in Samoa in December.

Marshall Islands power lifters are preparing for the Oceania Championships in Samoa in December, and Alexei Waidabu, 15, second from left, is being touted by coach Russell Kun, a former Oceania champ from 1989-1994 for Nauru, as a top new competitor. Photo by Douglas HenryMarshall Islands power lifters are preparing for the Oceania Championships in Samoa in December, and Alexei Waidabu, 15, second from left, is being touted by coach Russell Kun, a former Oceania champ from 1989-1994 for Nauru, as a top new competitor. Photo by Douglas HenryRussell Kun, who reigned as Oceania Champion in his 110-kg. (242 pound) weight class from 1989-1994, and came in fifth in the 175-nation World Championships for the tiny central Pacific nation of Nauru, is coaching the Marshall Islands national powerlifting team. He said Friday that even Nauru, many of whose weightlifters have been world ranked since the 1980s, will not be able to beat teen weightlifting phenomenon Alexei Waidabu.

So confident of the team of young powerlifters is Powerlifting Association national coordinator and coach Kun that he’s challenging Nauru and any other Pacific nation to try to beat the 15-year-old Waidabu in Samoa at the Oceania Championships.

Kun said preparations for this powerlifting tournament are advancing on schedule, with the Marshall Islands team already pumping iron double their own body weights. Kun in his heyday lifted 349-kg. (770 pounds) in the “squat” division, and said he is satisfied with Waidabu’s progress. Last week, Waidabu, who weighs 67-kg. (148 pounds), lifted nearly double his weight — 130-kg. (286 pounds) — in the “squat” and more than doubled his weight — with 140-kg. (308 pounds) — in the dead lift.

Kun said based on the results of a May 1 “trial,” the men in the group are on track for a good showing in Apia later this year.

The Marshall Islands is a member of the Oceania Powerlifting Federation, which is the representative body in the International Powerlifting Federation, recognized by the International Olympic Committee.

Jesse Roland, Anson Harris, Poncho Agadio and teen Alexei Waidabu “have improved tremendously from their last showing at the end of February, and without any serious injuries along the way will add more poundage in their lifts, especially squats and dead lifts,” Kun said.

“Each lifter knows their goals to reach in their first outing at these championships, which includes countries like Australia and New Zealand. From this meet, we will prepare for the Pacific Games in New Caledonia in 2011.”

Kun, a former parliament speaker in Nauru and now the government’s chief public defender in Majuro, doesn’t think small. “All our lifters have the potential to make it big in the near future — the favorite to bring home the gold is our 15-year-old lifter, Alexei, a Marshall Islands citizen of Nauruan origin, who will compete at his weight division in the under-18 category,” he said.

“I am so confident in Alexei’s strength that I challenge anyone in the Western Pacific including Nauru to bring a 15 year old in the same weight class and see if he can out-lift this super boy!”

Kun sees a great future for Alexei if he continues his current approach to his training. “He will go far, so far to even becoming the Marshall Islands’ first world champion,” he said.

 

 

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