Apolonia Vaivai

Further Personal Information
Residence
Tavuki, FIJ
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English, Fijian
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up weightlifting in 2010 in Levuka, Fiji.
Why this sport?
Her aunt persuaded her to try the sport. "From my first lift I really enjoyed it and I have continued ever since, It's a tough sport and requires a lot of motivation and perseverance. I'm thankful to my aunt for pushing me."
Name of coach
Jo Vueti [national], FIJ
General Interest
Nicknames
Polly (fijisun.com.fj, 04 Apr 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"If you give your mind, heart and soul to what you love, you will definitely succeed." (fijisun.com.fj, 25 Oct 2015)
Awards and honours
She was flag bearer for Fiji at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. She also carried out the same role at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. (gc2018.com, 04 Apr 2018; International Weightlifting Federation Facebook page, 29 Jun 2015)

In 2014 she was named Fijian Sportswoman of the Year. (nytimes.com, 10 Aug 2016)
Other information
CYCLONE DESTROYS GYM
In 2016 her training facility in Fiji was destroyed by Cyclone Winston. "I woke up in the early morning and was surprised to see all the damage caused by [cyclone] Winston. I walked into the gym, saw the destruction and Rio [2016 Olympic Games] went out of my mind. Many people, especially other weightlifters, encouraged me with laughter and fun times and I managed to adapt myself to other facilities. An old jungle gym with only two platforms became my training place." (Paula Taqua Kaloukocei Facebook profile, 26 May 2016)

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