Doha: Fiji’s 18-year-old weightlifting prodigy Eileen Cikamatana has chosen not to compete at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships, where she had an outstanding chance of winning a first ever medal for her country, because of a clash with her exams.
“It has been a busy year for travelling, and I am way behind with my studying,” Cikamatana told www.insidethegames.biz.
Cikamatana, a silver medallist at the Junior World Championships, is the Oceania champion, and hot favourite for gold at next year’s Commonwealth Games, but she will compete instead in the Pacific Mini Games in early December, after her exams.
Hailed as one of the best teenage weightlifters in the world, Cikamatana had the fourth highest entry total in the 90kg class.
Rather than travel to Anaheim, California — which hosts the World Championships from November 28 until December 5 — her final trip of 2017 will be to Vanuatu, which hosts the multi-sport Mini Games from December 4 to 15.
“I have never been to America and I would like to go,” said Cikamatana from Noumea, where she lives and trains for six hours a day at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute, coached by Paul Coffa.
Absence of competitors from China and Kazakhstan, two of the nine nations banned from the sport for a year, also was another factor for her to call it off.
“I have asked my parents about it and they said, ‘Study comes first.’ The exams are at the end of November and that’s my first priority now, not the World Championships. I’d like to compete but everybody is not there. We don’t call that a competition,” she added.