Fijian teen shines as the Pacific powers
Pacific power has arrived on the Gold Coast, with weightlifting teenager Eileen Cikamatana becoming the first Fijian woman to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal on a big day for the island nations.
Cikamatana dominated the women's 90kg competition on Monday, while Samoan pair Feagaiga Stowers and Sanele Mao also claimed weightlifting gold for the Pacific.
The 18-year-old Cikamatana wept openly as the Fijian anthem played at a Commonwealth Games for only the fourth time - the first since 2002.
"I feel overwhelmed, excited, I feel very happy," she said.
"This is my first Commonwealth Games and I have been working for this goal for many years. I feel like I am on top of the world."
Cikamatana led from the start and claimed the gold with a combined total of 233kg.
She left home at 16 to train under Australian Paul Coffa in New Caledonia and has her eyes on more success.
"This is not the end, just the start," she said.
Samoa had also only won three Commonwealth gold medals before Mao picked their first at the Gold Coast with a total lift of 360kg to beat Indian favourite Pardeep Singh in the men's 105kg class.
"I'm so happy to win a gold medal - the first gold for my team and my country," Mao said.
"We had a fight, it was tough.
"I fought for me, for my country, and for my gold medal."
Stowers, also 18, came to the Gold Coast only hoping for silver behind controversial New Zealand transgender lifter Laurel Hubbard in the women's over 90kg.
But Hubbard damaged ligaments in her elbow when attempting a Commonwealth record in the snatch, leaving the competition open for the Samoan teenager whose coaches had been critical of the New Zealander's inclusion in the event.
"I never thought I could compete against Laurel because of her high total," she said.
"After the snatch when she pulled out, all I did was focus on each lift and try to do the best I could on the platform.
"I never thought I was going to win the gold. All we aimed for was the silver or bronze medal."
Samoan official Mary Opeloge was blunt when asked whether Hubbard should be allowed to compete.
"I don't want to say this but it's unfair for her to compete," she said.
The Cook Islands continued Monday's Pacific flavour when they won their first ever Games medal with Aidan Zittersteijn and Taiki Paniani taking bronze in lawn bowls men's pairs.