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Weigh to go, David!

Written by Maryvonne Gray
on May 22, 2024

A weightlifting demo from newly-announced Kiwi Olympic hopeful David Liti was the main attraction for residents at Logan Campbell Retirement Village yesterday.

The popular athlete, who will compete in the men’s 102+kg division, was revealed as the latest member of the NZ team who will be attending the Paris Olympics to gathered media and a packed village centre, where he thrilled the crowd with his impressive lifting skills.

David demonstrated three ‘clean and jerk’ lifts, going up to 140kg on the third. While it prompted gasps from the residents, his lift at Tokyo in comparison was 236kg and then 178kg in the ‘snatch’, which is the lift from floor to over the head.

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David and his coach Tina Ball also encouraged residents to practice the required moves – but using a slightly lighter weight bamboo stick!

Gathering for a group photo, 98-year-old avid sports fan Mary Cutler took the chance to give David a cuddle, making a hilarious contrast with her diminutive 143cm frame next to the 182cm 185kg man mountain.

“I said to him ‘I can’t get my arms around you!’ and he said ‘But I can!’,” she said later.

“I always watch the sports when it’s on and I’ll definitely be watching David. It’s his personality, he’s lovely.”

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David wows the residents with a lift demo (above) and then with the help of his coach Tina Ball, encourages them to give it a go too (below).

IMG_0570 (1) (Large)Mary also joined David in a TikTok dance, adding that it would be no surprise to her two children, four grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

“They’ll just say ‘Oh there’s Nana again!” she laughed.

Meanwhile, another resident John Mead jumped at the chance to interview David, describing him as 'a very easy guy to talk to'.

Legacy weightlifting Olympian John Bolton was also there to present David with a silver fern after CEO and Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Nicki Nicol, officially announced that David would be attending his second Olympic Games.

John competed at Mexico City in 1968 and Munich in 1972 as well as three Commonwealth Games.

Nicki, whose aunt and uncle Maree and Michael Church are residents at Logan Campbell, praised Ryman Healthcare as a valued partner.

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Legacy Olympian John Bolton presents David with a silver fern (above) while Nicki Nicol poses for a pic with David and her auntie and uncle, Logan Campbell residents Michael and Maree Church (below).

IMG_0617 (1) (Large)Addressing the residents, she said: “They’ve been working together with us since before the Tokyo Olympics and so with Ryman’s support, and with your support, we are helping to get the athletes on the plane to Paris.”

Nicki said New Zealand had a proud history of weightlifting at the Olympics, with a total of 22 weightlifters competing, dating back to Maurice Crow in the London 1948 Games.

Including David now, six had been selected for two Olympic Games.

David’s coach Tina Ball described her charge as ‘cheeky, fun, curious, kind and fiercely competitive’, and said the campaign to get to Paris had been ‘long and challenging’.

“We’ve been to Colombia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the Solomon Islands. We’ve had some fantastic unforgettable experiences and some lifelong learnings.

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Logan Campbell resident John Mead interviews David (above) and with coach Tina Ball (below).

IMG_0533 (1) (Large)“To see David today being announced into the NZ team for his second Olympics brings me just such great joy, it’s a testament to his choices and showing up on the daily.

“I’m proud to be able to walk alongside him into Paris to make a difference, to show what’s possible, to influence the next generation, and hopefully…. be that difference.”

David, who was born in New Zealand but spent his first 10 years in Tonga, said it was only because of ‘a few things not going to plan’ that he ended up as a weightlifter.

“I never would have thought as a kid that I’d be going to the Olympics for the second time. I’m very grateful and honoured to be in this position today.”

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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