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Award shock for Liku

SOFT-spoken Levuka lass Maria Liku of Fiji Weightlifting, was shocked to win her first national award at the FASANOC Sports Award in Suva on Saturday night.

Liku edged other top nominees like Selai Pridgeon (golf), Makelesi Batimala (athletics) to win the Female Athlete of the Year.

The New Caledonia-based national weightlifter arrived into the country on Saturday only to find out that she was being nominated for the award.

“I’m surprised to win this award. I’m happy about it and it’s also my first national award and I want to thank God and my families for supporting me all throughout this time.”

Liku said it was always her dream to win such an award since taking up the sport at an early age of 12.

She first represented Fiji at the 2003 South Pacific Games in Suva. There was no looking back for the youngster as she continued her young colourful weightlifting career in New Caledonia.

Liku said winning the award had motivated her to give her utmost best for Fiji in the future. She aims to win her first gold medal at Commonwealth Games and to participate at the next Olympic Games.

“Ever since I started weightlifting I always had that passion to win an award like this. Now that I’ve achieved it I’m looking forward to improve my performance in weightlifting for the country at international level.”

Liku won three gold medals at the Pacific Mini Games in Cook Islands last year.

The 19-year old thanked Fiji Weighting secretary Chris Yee, her Uncles Peni Tawai and Joe Vueti and Coach Paul Coffa for guiding her to achieve such achievements at a tender age.

Liku won a silver and bronze medal at last year’s Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship in Malaysia. She’s now waiting for the renewal of scholarship to New Caledonia. (Fiji Times)