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David Liti (NZL): “I want a medal at the 2024 Olympics”

Travelling half the globe to reach Havana, David Liti had no special plans for the IWF Grand Prix but had however one goal in mind: to get a total of 400kg in the men’s +109kg category. In the last final of the competition, the Neo Zealander reached his objective, bettering his previous result in the Olympic Qualification ranking. In Bogota (COL), at the IWF World Championships last December, Liti concluded the competition with a 396kg effort, 15kg below the present cut for the 10th place of the Paris 2024 classification. If not directly qualified in the group of the 10 best in the world, he will for sure earn a place through continental quota, as he is by far the best representative of Oceania in this category.

After winning two medals in the Cuban capital – silver in total, behind Ali Davoudi (IRI, 441kg), and also second in the clean and jerk, with a 226kg lift – the 26-year-old was a happy man. “The medals were initially not on the plan. It became a reality a few hours before the final and in the end, everything worked fine. The most important was to improve my total in the ranking – this is also done,” he admits.

David Liti (NZL)

Paris 2024 will be the second Olympic experience for Liti, who was fifth at the Tokyo 2020ne Games, with a total of 414kg, his personal international best. “At the IWF World Championships in Riyadh, I definitively want to go over the 400kg and approach my best result. I aim at getting the direct qualification, by having a total amongst the best 10 of the world hierarchy. In Paris, I hope to do better than in Japan, so I will fight for a podium. The colour of the medal is not important…” reveals Liti. If he is successful in this ambitious objective, it would represent the first weightlifting podium achievement for the Kiwi nation at the Olympic level.

Enjoying a very positive personal reputation in New Zealand, he considers however that the sport is still far from being recognised as it should be. “We are still at a development stage. We only brought two athletes to this competition, and it is very difficult to have our travels funded only through weightlifting. It is the reality we have and we are working hard to improve that. To come here, I had to put money from my pocket…” Liti confesses.

Elected to the IWF Athletes Commission in December 2022, the star from New Zealand is optimistic about the global development of the sport. “We are fundamentally athletes. We don’t care so much about politics and decisions at the highest level. However, athletes are well represented and their voice is heard by the IWF top-level management. This is our job – to make sure athletes’ job is easier and done in better conditions. All the effort is of course positive and encouraging”. 

Reflecting on the necessary “change of culture”, Liti is happy to note that “important steps were done in the right direction”. Because, as he underlines, “at the end of the day, it’s the athletes coming here and competing – of course with the help of their coaches, their entourage and of course of the IWF”.

With an international career that debuted in 2014, the New Zealander had its best result at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where he won gold in the +105kg category, in 174-229-403. His best IWF World Championships outcome was a ninth place in 2021 (176-231-407). To Cuba, he came accompanied by his teammate Xavier Tiffany, who finished 11th in the men’s 89kg category.

By Pedro Adrega, IWF Communications

Other stories from this Grand Prix:

Cuba and the IWF Grand Prix: Hard work, emotion, and development – International Weightlifting Federation

Ecuador: A true story of success! – International Weightlifting Federation (

Brandon Vautard (FRA): “All the eyes will be on the French athletes during the Games!” – International Weightlifting Federation (

Safaa Aljumaili (IRQ): “It’s a very positive return to competition!” – International Weightlifting Federation (

Ine Andersson (NOR): Overcoming adversity with determination – International Weightlifting Federation (

From Mexico with… fair-play! – International Weightlifting Federation (

Arley Calderon (CUB): “The Games were never so close for me…” – International Weightlifting Federation (

Fighting for a position in the Olympic ranking: “I will not surrender!” – International Weightlifting Federation (

From 1973 to 2023: The Professor’s memories – International Weightlifting Federation (