Stephen and Coffa retain leadership roles in Oceania Weightlifting Federation elections – International Weightlifting Federation
Marcus Stephen and Paul Coffa were both re-elected unopposed to the top two places in the Oceania Weightlifting Federation (OWF).
Other important decisions taken at the OWF Congress in Sydney, Australia this weekend include the awarding of the next two senior continental championships, which feature in the qualifying schedule for Paris 2024.
The 2023 Oceania Championships will be held at the same time as the Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands, next November-December, and the 2024 Championships will take place a few months later in Auckland, New Zealand, at the end of February.
Stephen, from Nauru, is entering 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 weightlifting in Oceania for more than half a century, remains general secretary.
The next Electoral Congress will take place in less than two years – before or just after the 2024 Paris Olympics – as the Congress in Sydney was two years behind schedule, having been delayed by COVID-related postponements .
Simon Kent from New Zealand is one of the two newly elected vice-presidents.
The other is Della Shaw Elder from Fiji, who was elected unopposed as female vice-president, a role that is required under the OWF Constitution.
Shaw Elder was just a few votes away from being elected to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Board of Directors at its election convention in June and could, if she runs for OWF President in 2024, to become the first female leader of a continental federation in sport.
Last year, Shaw Elder was among those who complained to Coffa and Stephen about the way the OWF was governed.
Fiji was one of nine federations that wrote in May 2021 calling for elections at an extraordinary congress, but none took place until this weekend.
The debates in Sydney were “very successful and held in a most friendly atmosphere”, said Coffa.
Two vice-presidents were re-elected, Jerry Wallwork from Samoa and Luisa Peters from the Cook Islands.
Three new members of the Executive Council were elected – John Davis from the Northern Marianas, Edgar Molinos from Guam and Stevick Patris from Palau.
The Assistant Secretary is Lilly Coffa, the Technical Chairman is Sam Coffa and the Masters Chairman is Coral Quinell – all Australians.
The medical co-chairs are Dr Lisimoni Kami from Tonga and Dr Lawrence Teariki Puni from the Cook Islands.
Next year, the Junior and Oceania Junior Championships will take place on a date to be determined in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Weightlifters from Oceania, who have been hampered more than any other continent by COVID travel restrictions, have had a successful year, winning 10 medals at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The continent’s two gold medalists in Birmingham, multiple junior world record holder Eileen Cikamatana of Australia and ever-improving Samoan Don Opeloge, will both be aiming for good results in December at the 2022 IWF World Championships in Bogota, in Colombia.
Another big name from Oceania, Dika Toua, Papua New Guinea, 38, is hoping to qualify for the Olympics for a record sixth time.