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    Tuesday, December 11, 2018-8:36:21P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Marshalls’ weightlifting team aims to break nine Micro Games records

MAJURO — A youthful Marshall Islands weightlifting team heading to the Micronesian Games in Pohnpei later this month is aiming to break records that have stood for 16 years.

Marshall Islands weightlifting coach Terry Sasser said the lifters, most of whom are teenagers, have broken nine Micronesian Game weightlifting records during practice sessions in Majuro.

The records were set by powerful Nauru lifters at the 1998 Games in Palau. Nauru was the weightlifting powerhouse in the 1990s, but in recent years other islands are elbowing their way into the spotlight, with the Marshalls team surprising competitors around the region with their recently developed prowess.

“If you want to see a lot of medals, come to the airport on July 28,” said Weightlifting Federation President Tony Muller during a special event last week to promote the team. “That’s when the weightlifters come back from the Micronesian Games.”

The 10-member team is led by two young women who have shined in regional competition during the past year.

Seventeen-year-old Mathlynn Jacob-Sasser won one silver and four gold medals competing in the 58KG (122 pound) division at the combined Oceania Championships and South Pacific Championships last year in Brisbane, Australia.

Marshall Islands weightlifter Lomina Tibon shows her form during a practice workout in Majuro.  Photo by Giff JohnsonMarshall Islands weightlifter Lomina Tibon shows her form during a practice workout in Majuro. Photo by Giff Johnson

Nineteen-year-old Lomina Tibon won four gold medals at the Oceania and South Pacific Championships in May in New Caledonia competing inthe 48KG (106 pound) division. She was named the “Outstanding Junior Weightlifter” for both tournaments.

Both Jacob-Sasser and Tibon have defeated lifters from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea during regional competitions.

“We are set to break nine Micro Games weightlifting medals set by Nauru at the 1998 Games in Palau,” said Muller. He explained the Marshall Islands lifters are routinely lifting weights heavier than the Nauru records in their twice-a-day practice sessions.

The weightlifting team is among a sports delegation of over 160 from the Marshall Islands that will compete in multiple sports on July 20-30.