Stephen and Coffa retain leadership roles at Oceania Weightlifting Federation elections
Marcus Stephen and Paul Coffa have both been re-elected unopposed to the top two positions in the Oceania Weightlifting Federation (OWF).
Other important decisions made at the OWF Congress in Sydney, Australia at the weekend included the awarding of the next two continental senior championships, which feature in the qualifying programme for Paris 2024.
The 2023 Oceania Championships will run concurrently with the Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands next November-December, and the 2024 Championships will be a few months later in Auckland, New Zealand, at the end of February.
Stephen, from Nauru, is beginning his fourth term as President, a role he will hold until 2024.
Coffa, an Australian who coached Stephen in the 1990s and has been involved in Oceania weightlifting for more than half a century, continues as secretary general.
The next Electoral Congress is less than two years away – before or just after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – because the Congress in Sydney was two years later than planned, having been delayed by COVID-related postponements.
Simon Kent of New Zealand is one of two new vice-presidents elected.
The other is Della Shaw Elder of Fiji, who was elected unopposed as the female vice-president, a role which is required under the OWF Constitution.
Shaw Elder was just a few votes short of being elected to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Executive Board at its Electoral Congress in June and could, if she stands for OWF President in 2024, become the first female leader of any continental federation in the sport.
Last year Shaw Elder was among those who complained to Coffa and Stephen about the way the OWF was being governed.
Fiji was one of nine federations who wrote in May 2021 to call for elections at an Extraordinary Congress, but none were held until this weekend.
The proceedings in Sydney were “very successful and held in a most friendly atmosphere”, Coffa said.
Two vice-presidents were re-elected, Jerry Wallwork of Samoa and Luisa Peters of Cook Islands.
Three new members of the Executive Board were voted in – John Davis of Northern Marianas, Edgar Molinos of Guam and Stevick Patris of Palau.
The assistant secretary is Lilly Coffa, technical chair is Sam Coffa, and masters chair is Coral Quinell – all Australian.
The medical co-chairs are Dr Lisimoni Kami of Tonga and Dr Lawrence Teariki Puni of Cook Islands.
Next year’s Oceania Youth and Junior Championships will be held on a date to be decided in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Oceania lifters, who were inconvenienced more than any other continent by COVID travel restrictions, had a successful year, winning 10 medals at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The continent’s two gold medallists in Birmingham, the multiple junior world record holder Eileen Cikamatana of Australia and the ever-improving Samoan Don Opeloge, will both be aiming for good results in December at the 2022 IWF World Championships in Bogota, Colombia.
Another of Oceania’s big names, 38-year-old Dika Toua of Papua New Guinea, is hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games for a record sixth time.