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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (14 August) . .

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Motion (by Mr Corbell) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Commonwealth Games—David Katoatau

MR COE (Ginninderra) (9.01): I rise this evening to congratulate David Katoatau on winning Kiribati's first Commonwealth Games gold medal in Glasgow recently. I do so because it was a special and significant sporting achievement, and also in recognition of the ACT's special relationship with Kiribati. Kiribati first competed in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 when the games were held in Kuala Lumpur. Before Mr Katoatau's victory, Kiribati had never medalled at the Commonwealth Games, so this gold also doubles as the nation's first-ever medal.

Mr Katoatau, a weightlifter, won gold in the men's 105 kilogram group A weightlifting competition with a combined lift of 348 kilograms. Sitting in fourth place after the snatch, Mr Katoatau, who had become the crowd favourite, blew his competition away with a 200 kilogram lift in the clean and jerk. He beat his nearest rival, Stanislav Chalaev of New Zealand, by seven kilograms, with England's Benjamin Watson finishing third with a combined lift of 337 kilograms. Australian lifters Rob Galsworthy and Max Del Santo finished fifth and sixth.

The win surely cements Mr Katoatau's status as a hero in Kiribati. Previously Mr Katoatau had won medals at both the Pacific Games and the Oceania Weightlifting Championship, and had been the flag bearer for Kiribati at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Mr Katoatau was also Kiribati's flag bearer for the Glasgow games.

On winning gold, Mr Katoatau said that he was proud to win Kiribati's first medal at a major event, and that he was going to have a big party when he got home. Noted for his dancing, Mr Katoatau is quoted as saying he would "dance all night long" when he returned to Kiribati.

I speak of Mr Katoatau's success today because of the close relationship between this Assembly and the parliament of Kiribati. As all members would be aware, the parliament of Kiribati is a sister parliament of this Assembly. The win of Mr Katoatau is a significant achievement for the country, and is something that we should acknowledge.

Again, I would like to congratulate Mr Katoatau on his gold medal and wish him the best of luck for the remainder of his career. Kiribati has never won a medal at the Olympic Games, but hopefully this duck can be broken by Mr Katoatau or one of his compatriots in Rio in 2016.

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