For the first time in history, the Cook Islands will have two female weightlifters to lift the national flag on the lifting platform.
Luisa Peters, an established member of the Oceania Weightlifting Institute training under legendary coach Paul Coffa, is well known for her impressive lifting skills in the region who will soon learn about another talented Cook Islands lifter in Phillippa Woonton.
Philippa, daughter of former Cook Islands Prime Minister Dr Robert Woonton, says making the Team Cook Islands weightlifting team has made her year.
Despite only taking up the lifting game little over three and a half years ago through Crossfit, Philipa has already made her mark on the lifting platform.
The Rarotonga born and raised athlete currently resides in Canberra, Australia where she has been living for seven years.
The 29-year old learned the basics of Olympic weightlifting movements through Crossfit and lifted in a number of competitions. With each successful lift, Philippa began to think about taking things a step further and become a national representative in weightlifting.
She competed in her first weightlifting competition in February 2013 where her efforts qualified her to compete in the Australian Nationals 2014.
She competed in the 75kg category and a few weeks later also competed in the ACT state champs, winning the event.
“It was at that time where I wondered to myself whether representing my own country was a far-fetched idea or not,” says Philippa.
Inspired by her outcome on the lifting platform, Philippa made contact with Weightlifting Cook Islands.
“I really wanted to be part of the Cook Islands team traveling to the Pacific Games in 2015, so when I was advised that I had been approved to be a part of the team my year was made!”
The upcoming Pacific Games will be Philippa’s debut as a national lifter and international athlete.
“What a way to make my debut among our Pacific Islands cousins at the Pacific Games in PNG!”
Currently in competitions, Philippa snatches 70kg and cleans 90kg.
Over the last five months she has been concentrating on improving these numbers for Port Moresby.
“I have been very fortunate to be coached by Australia's Commonwealth Weightlifting Athlete, Kylie Lindbeck, who has been my coach since the very start.
“I am very lucky to have so much support in Canberra from the local Crossfit and weightlifting community and with their support I am ready to take on the competition for the Pacific Games.” The two female weightlifters from the Cooks are sure to make regional lifters stand up and pay attention.