CWG 2022: Samoan lifter’s gesture towards India’s Jeremy Lalrinnunga on the podium wins hearts

As they were standing on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 55kg weightlifting competition, Samoa’s Vaipava Nevo Ioane, the silver medallist, leaned across, took off a red coloured flower wreath/necklace from his neck and placed it on India’s Jeremy Lalrinnunga.

“It is a Samoan magic necklace, which we use for good luck and friendship. Jeremy is my friend and I thought to put in across his neck to wish him luck,” the Samoan weightlifter said later as the participants left the venue, with broad smiles on their faces and medals across their necks.

Ioane, who made a desperate, last-ditch attempt to lift 174 kg in his final clean and jerk attempt to leapfrog Lalrinnunga’s total of 300kg and bag the gold medal, said he always felt friendly towards the Indian youngster and therefore decided to place the good-luck and friendship charm around his neck.

“We have been competing against each other in the Commonwealth Championships and other international meets and see him like a friend. When we compete against each other, then I would not like to give him an inch to him and play hard. But after the competition is over, we are friends,” said Ioane.

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