The success of the Oceania Talent Identification Program
The OTIP was first implemented in Apia, Samoa, in 2012 by Dr. Tamas Ajan, President of the IWF, whilst he attended the 2012 Oceania Championships and London Olympic Qualification. The OTIP has been successfully operating with the financial support of the IWF for the past six years.
The idea of implementing this program was to create interest amongst the youth, particularly in the Pacific Island nations. To expose them to weightlifting.
The exercise that OWF chose was the power Clean&Jerk, which is the easiest movement for youth to attempt and master. OTIP now has hundreds of youth who have taken on the sport in the last six years. Some of them have successfully gone on to compete internationally.
This enormous growth could not have been achieved without the support of the Federations who took part in the program and officials like Jerry Wallwork from Samoa, David Katoatau from Kiribati, Jenly Wini from the Solomon Islands, Dika Toua from PNG, Joe Vueti from Fiji, Dominic Cain and Quincy Detenamo from Nauru, Manuel Minginfel from Micronesia, Logona Esau from Tuvalu, Alan Tano and Narita Viliamu from Niue, Edgar Molinos from Guam. These individual leaders, assisted by top lifters from their respective countries, have contributed enormously to the growth of the sport in their nations.
These top officials have been able to convince schools to allow their students to take part in the OTIP program under strict supervision. Safety is paramount. The students are in no way pushed to the extreme. The OTIP program does not look for records but to identify young students who have the potential to become weightlifters.
The success of this program does not end at school. After two months of testing and recruiting students, the National Federations are asked to select one or two students to attend a special training camp at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in New Caledonia.
Some of the greatest lifters from the Oceania region started their careers in the OTIP training camp.
A number of these lifters have gone on to compete and win medals at the Oceania and Commonwealth Championships, Youth Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Games.
So far 34,287 youth took part in the program and the OWF aims is to double these figures within the next four years.