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Toua continues to lift PNG despite rundown facility

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Dika Toua lifts PNG high every time, but what about her deteriorated gym where her dream becomes PNG's pride and joy?

Snatching three more gold medals for Papua New Guinea alongside her sisters Thelma and Konio, who won 6 silver and bronze medals, PNG's golden girl Dika Toua and her sisters took the Pacific Games limelight on Monday, November 20, at Maranatha Hall in the Solomon Islands.

Dika Toua is PNG's pride and joy who never fails to impress and always performs to the best of her ability, lifting Papua New Guinea high every time she competes in her weight category of 49 kg.

Toua has been competing in weightlifting since 2000, becoming the first woman from Papua New Guinea to compete in the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics at just 16 years old. She has been competing ever since.

She is a 13-time and current Oceania titlist, a Commonwealth titlist, and also a Pacific Games Champion. But what about the gym that has molded her and other weightlifters such as Morea Baru to be the champions they are.

In 2018 and again this year, she appealed to the government to provide adequate support for her gym, as reported by the Post Courier (on February 23, 2023) and the National (on April 18, 2018). The sought-after aid to upgrade her backyard gym in Hanuabada did not happen.

Loa Dika Toua (LDT) gym is situated next to a slope in the open in a makeshift setup, making it prone to floods and debris during the rainy season. This can disrupt competitions if rain falls during an ongoing tournament.

Additionally, most of the weights they use are old and worn out. Even the gym flooring of rubber mats is old and bent at the edges, making it an easy target for weightlifters to trip and fall when trying to move around the mini competition arena.

The gym was built in 2008 by Toua with the dream to build future weightlifters.

With her colorful performances and cumulative results over the years, she has become a role model and inspiration for aspiring weightlifters not only in Hanuabada but across Papua New Guinea.

Moreover, an example of a champion that came out of Dika's gym is Morea Baru. According to Team PNG, Baru has just set a new Pacific Games record in the Snatch by lifting 123 kg. He is competing in the men's 61 kg and has already secured the gold for the Snatch.

Additionally, just last month, the Team PNG Junior weightlifters brought more medals to PNG when participating in the 2023 Oceania Youth, Junior & Under 23 Championship in Apia, Samoa. Those children are the fruits of Toua's gym at Hanuabada.

Given the consistent outstanding results of the Team PNG Weightlifting, it should be about time that they are given a proper training facility to hold their competitions and championships because they have the potential and the powerhouse to win gold for PNG.

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