Pacific Games 2023: Niue’s flagbearer has Solomon Islands link to her name

Pacific Games 2023: Niue’s flagbearer has Solomon Islands link to her name

The 17-year-old will also be celebrating the fact that she has an eternal link to the Solomon’s through her name.

Edwards was named after the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), in which her father Tony Edwards served from 2006-10.

Her dad was a member of the Niue Police team at the RAMSI operation – a regional police mission which began in 2003 as a Pacific Islands Forum-sanctioned response to five years of violent ethnic tensions in Solomon Islands.

Edwards is a young and enthusiastic weightlifter, selected by the Niue Island Sports and Commonwealth Games Association (NISCGA) for her achievements, interest and her example as an athlete.

NISCGA secretary general Sidney Lui told RNZ Pacific that Edwards is a great choice because of her achievements and also her link to the Solomon’s, who are the Games’ host.

“It is fitting also as we are going to the Pacific Games in Solomon Islands,” she said.

‘A great role model’

Lui said Edwards journey as a weightlifter started in 2018 at the age of 12.

Edwards has represented Niue on international platforms and continues to hold records in the New Zealand Secondary School Weightlifting Championships, New Zealand Junior National Championships and the Papatoetoe Olympic Weightlifting Club where she trains,” Lui said.

“Ramsi [Edwards] has gone beyond her physical achievements and inspires other girls with her ability to overcome adversity on the platform.

“As the only young female lifter in Niue, she serves as a great role model for young girls. Ramsi’s attitude towards the sport reminds us that greatness is not only measured by victories but also by the strength of character and the impact on others.

“As a flag bearer, Ramsi will perform at the opening ceremony to an original song composed especially by Glen JXN Jackson and sung by his 14-year-old daughter Myah Jackson to complement Ramsi’s role as flag bearer for Niue.”

Her dad Tony has been a big part of her growth, both as a young person and an athlete. He is also coaching the Niue powerlifting team to the Games.

Edwards said she was proud to be selected as her country’s flagbearer.

“I am honoured to be selected as the only female weightlifter and flag bearer for Niue. This is a great achievement in my sports journey as a young female athlete,” she said.

Doing that in Honiara where her name came from and where her had had served for the Pacific means much more.

“Excited about the opportunity and be doing that where dad had served and where my name came from means so much more,” she added.

Team Niue will have their lifters at the opening ceremony on 19 November to represent them as their other team members will be at the Games in the second week.

Sidney Lui

Sidney Lui Photo: Supplied

Niue officials appointed officials

Meanwhile, three officials from the Niue Powerlifting Federation have been appointed as technical officials for the powerlifting competition.

They are Tony Edwards (president), Lui (secretary general) and Maxine Edwards (athlete).

Tony Edwards visited Honiara three weeks ago as technical delegate to ensure all the powerlifting facilities are fully furnished ahead of the opening.

He said the facilities are ready for the competition proper to roll.

“The facilities are well furnished and ready for use,” he said.

“I am impressed with the amount of work put in to ensure the facilities are completed in time.”

Lui said they were excited for Niue and the sport’s growth.

“After successfully hosting the Oceania Powerlifting Championship in Niue April 2023, we were ready to use the experience to assist the International Powerlifting Federation deliver the sport in Honiara,” she told RNZ Pacific.

She said the icing on the cake has been the fact that her and Maxine were selected as female officials.

“I’m excited being the first two women from Niue to get to this level and even more excited to balance the male dominant technical official pool in the sport. Gender equality at its best!”

The three elected officials are qualified New Zealand Powerlifting Federation provincial referees.

They will sit a Level 2 Referees Course in Honiara.

Lui said this is the first time in Niue, that three officials from one federation have been appointed as technical officials for the Pacific Games.

In another development, both Edwards and Lui have been nominated to contest for the top positions in the Executive Board for the Oceania Regional Powerlifting Federation.

The election will take place during the Oceania Regional Powerlifting Federation General Assembly, to be held in Honiara on November 26, 2023. –ENDS//

-RNZ Pacific

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