Commonwealth Games gold medalist Eileen Cikamatana has decided to pull out of the Oceania Championships next month to be held in New Caledonia, the World Junior Championships in early July in Uzbekistan and the World Senior Championships in November in Turkmenistan – which is an Olympic qualification event.
In a statement sent from Noumea, New Caledonia, Cikamatana said she has taken this step to stand in solidarity with fellow lifters from Levuka against the decision of Atma Maharaj and a few of the Executive Board members to remove Joe Vueti from the position of National Coach.
Cikamatana said Vueti and Peni Tawai have done the hard yards back in Levuka and she is a testament to that.
‘Joe was known as the national coach and he has been the father of weightlifting in Fiji for many years. Five weeks ago I was standing so proud and honored on the stage of the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast. Having tears streaming down my face, looking at my Fijian flag raised with the national anthem booming. These are moments that very few people can experience. I was one of the lucky ones. I won a gold medal for my country Fiji. In addition to that I also won the Sport Woman of the Year a few weeks prior’,Cikamatana said.
‘Five weeks later, I am going to go home to Levuka from the Oceania Institute where I am currently training, with bitterness, disappointment and heartbreak’, she added.
Yesterday Fiji One News broke the story about the national reps from Levuka pulling out of the Oceania championships as they are not happy with the appointment of the new coach.
Earlier this afternoon Cikamatana responded with a statement calling for Atma Maharaj the President of Weightlifting Fiji to step down.
Speaking from Australia Maharaj said he has not read the statement from Cikamatana.
Maharaj said Joe Vueti has taken up a role as an Oceania Weightlifting development officer.
The WF President added Vueti should make up his mind whether he wants to be national coach or an Oceania development officer.
Maharaj also said it is dissapointing that they have to come to this. He also said there was no point in consulting the Levuka club about the new coach as that was not the procedure.
Atma Maharaj said he will be part of the Emergency Board meeting this Sunday.
Meanwhile, Cikamatan said she would be coming home next week, from the Institute, to discuss her future with her parents and her coachcoach Joe Vueti.
‘There is no point continuing with the sport under the present set up. Furthermore I find it very difficult to understand as to how you can disregard Joe Vueti and Peni Tawai, the coaches who for the past 10 years have worked so hard in coaching, without financial support, to bring up the Fijian weightlifters to what they are today. Lifters who win Oceania titles, who win Commonwealth titles, who win medals at world championships, who win medals at the Commonwealth Games, who win medals at Pacific Games’ Cikamatana said.