Weightlifter David Liti wanted everyone to know “New Zealand was in the house” when he claimed gold at the Commonwealth Games last night.
Weightlifter David Liti after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games. Photo: Photosport
The 21-year-old Liti lifted a total 403kg in the men’s 105kg division while breaking a Commonwealth Games record in the clean and jerk, lifting 229kg, to take home gold.
Speaking to Checkpoint, he said he could not believe he had won gold.
“[I’m] pretty proud. I never really thought I could pull it off myself,” he said.
“I had a good hand grip so I knew I had it but I doubted my legs.”
But he nearly did not pursue weightlifting.
He was attending One Tree Hill College when he followed school friends to weightlifting but decided it wasn’t for him, returning to rugby.
“I got a phone call from my coach and she said, ‘Do you want to be just another number in the field or do you want to be a world class lifter?’ And that kind of hit me hard and that was the point where I wanted to be a world class lifter.”
After he completed the 229kg clean and jerk and won gold he held out the New Zealand insignia on his shirt, much to the crowd’s delight.
“I wanted them to know that New Zealand was in the house and that we’re not a little island in Australia; we’re a little island out of Australia.”
Weightlifter David Liti wins Gold, breaks Commonwealth record: RNZ Checkpoint Photo: RNZ / YouTube
He told Checkpoint it was “overwhelming and unreal”.
“Even today when I woke up I thought, ‘Man, am I dreaming’?”
“I’m trying not to go on social media too much so I can focus on my day and just live it out instead of being on my phone.
“Thank you for the love and support and thank you New Zealand. And I can’t believe I’m actually talking to you,” he said to John Campbell.
He had his sights on the 2020 Olympics in Japan and said he wanted to “at least medal”.
He hoped his gold medal would attract funding for future events because he had mostly self-funded until this point.