BY ROMULUS HUTA
SOLOMON Islands’ sole weightlifting rep to the Youth Olympic Games currently underway in the Argentine city of Buenos Aires will take it to the weight stage this Thursday.
Sixteen years old Betty Waneasi will compete in the 58kg Group A class of the women’s divisions against seven other opponents from Greece, USA, Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia, Azerbaijan and Egypt, respectively.
According to the seeding, Tunisian Ghofrane Belkhir leads Betty’s group with the highest qualification entry of 210kg and followed by Neama Said Fahmi Said of Egypt who is second with 190kg.
Peyton Brown from USA, who is a silver medallist in the 2018 Pan-American Youth Championship, qualifies with the third highest entry of 186kg and followed by Mary Kardara (Greece) and Islamiyat Yusuf (Nigeria), respectively, both at a 160kg each.
Lala Rzazade of Azerbaijan went in with 145kg in her qualification total and followed by the Solomon Islander who has a total of 130kg, just five kilos ahead of the least qualified contestant and Ghanaian Sandra Mensimah Oqusu who entered with 125kg in total.
In the recent past months leading up to last Thursday’s departure for Buenos Aires, Betty had climbed an uphill battle in her preparations where she worked so hard to lose many kilos as possible in attempts to fit into her newly-adopted 58kg class category. During the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu she competed in the 63kg.
When she began her preparations for Buenos Aires earlier this year, she was initially aiming to compete in the 53kg class and in that; she must reduce her weight by 10 kilos. However, she couldn’t afford to do it despite adhering to a very strict dietary plan.
She had to go for the 58kg class instead where from time to time she found out to have suited her.
Betty was weighed 55kg prior to her departure for Buenos Aires last week.
“From 62kg last December, I did a lot of work out over the past months and weeks to get to where I am.
“It was a massive challenge for me to have come this far and achieved the 55kg mark. I sacrificed a lot for this,” a softly-spoken Betty said.
Few months ago, her preparation received a massive boost when decorated iron lady Jenlyn Wini teams up with her as a training partner.
Betty, who hails from North Malaita, is Jenlyn’s second cousin through her maternal side and emulating the successes of her training partner and relative is her major goal.
“I think it’s a privilege working with someone such as Jenlyn and I owe her a lot through her continuous words of encouragement and advice.
“Jenlyn always remind me to maintain a high-level form of discipline if I want to become successful.
“Some of the advices are to be committed to training, refrain from smoking, drinking alcohol and chewing betelnut but focus strongly on top level discipline,” she grinned as she spoke.
Meanwhile, athletics and futsal are the two other codes representing Solomon Islands at the event in Buenos Aires.