Weightlifting: Kiribati’s Strong Man – Taubena Tatonga


Monday 28th July was another morning session at the Clyde Auditorium for the Kiribati weightlifting team with the Men’s 85kg Category. This morning’s sessions saw the turn of Taubena Tatonga, the 24 year old athlete from Kiribati. The atmosphere was as lively as ever in the Clyde creating the perfect inspiring support that each athlete would need during their event today.

As each athlete was introduced they walked out onto the stage area each athlete greeted by enthusiastic applause. Taubena was announced as the last athlete to join his fellow athletes in the line up. He stood on the stage smiling broadly, showing the audience the happy personality of the pacific islanders.

Taubena was 4th to come out onto the stage to lift his first weight. As he walked out he paused and took a deep breath as he approached the bar. Calming his nerves he prepared himself by getting into the correct starting position facing the front with his feet in a line. The buzzer sounded for the last 30 seconds of the countdown, this signalling that the lifter may begin. After a couple more seconds he used all his strength to lift the weight in the snatch section of the session. This first attempt was a ‘Good Lift’ with a weight of 115kg.

After making this lift look easy he increased the weight by 5kg to 120kg. Unfortunately this second attempt at this new higher weight was unsuccessful and walking back into the practice area Taubena looked disappointed. His 3rd attempt on the snatch section of the session looked promising to start with but was again a no lift.

After these 3 attempts at the snatch it was time to move onto the clean & jerk. Again Taubena was 4th to take to the stage for the clean and jerk. He started on a weight of 145kg and on his first attempt was again successful. The second attempt at 151kg  sounded the buzzer to say ‘No Lift’ where 2 red lights were present, these 2 red lights meant that the best out of three were mainly red and therefore it was ruled a ‘No Lift.’ The crowd roared in disagreement and the session was stopped for the jury to deliberate. Unfortunately for Taubena Tatonga and Kiribati the jury agreed ‘No lift.’ Taubena was unlucky with his 3rd attempt again being unsuccessful at 151kg with the judges deciding that an attempt was made at the jerk.  Despite this the crowd cheered, clapped and screamed as Taubena left the stage congratulating him on an exciting event that kept everyone on the edge of their seat.

This article was produced by Gemma Martin of The Reporters’ Academy, the official media of the Pacific Nations at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Currently reporting from the athletes village. The Reporters’ Academy is a youth media production company integrated into the world of sport, media and education.