Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Weightlifting giant steps up the mental training for Paris Olympics

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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

Ten years since lifting his first barbell, weightlifter David Liti is heading to his second Olympics

He may look like a beast on the weightlifting international stage but New Zealand weightlifter David Liti is quite the joker.

It’s a characteristic that makes him unique especially in the seriously high-pressure world of international weightlifting.

“It was the Commonwealth games in 2018. Everytime they would ask me what I do, I’d tell them I am a 100 metre sprinter,” Liti laughs.

“I think this time I will tell them I am a professional croissant eater,” 

A two time Commonwealth medalist – which includes gold – Pacific Games gold medallist and national champion, much is expected of him when he represents his country. And he’s come a long way in the sport considering how he felt about the sport in the first place.

“I was not at first serious with it. It took me a few years to accept it. But I realised in my first international in 2014 in New Caledonia when I won silver there,” Liti says. 

“I just thought to myself I’ll give it a shot and jumped right into it and see what happens.”

This year marks ten years since the 27 year old first picked up a barbell and set of weights. And it is fitting that in this milestone year, he gets to travel to his second Olympic Games representing New Zealand.

When reflecting back on his career through the highs and the lows, he admits that with the success also came the doubts and internal pressures.

“Being that shy kid when I started, a lot of people were doubting that I could do something with weightlifting and also not accept it. Especially the people close to me,” Liti says.

“I hope that one day I can showcase what it is that I have done and put it out there so some of our younger generation in the PI community can be inspired by it.”

After placing fifth in the last Olympics in Tokyo, Liti is hoping to go a step further for Paris.

With months of training in the lead up to next month’s games in France, Liti says that preparations remain the same from Tokyo, with only a few small adjustments.

“I’d say the biggest thing for me at the moment is being mentally there,” he says.

“I’m hoping to celebrate this year with a big total. 190 in the snatch and 240 in the clean and jerk. I’m lifting a lot more than what I was before, so that gives me a lot of confidence.”

The Olympics kick off in Paris, France on July 26.

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