Round three of the Oceania Weightlifting Federation (OWF) League wrapped up on the weekend, and we saw yet another big reshuffle of the leaderboard.
After the three rounds completed so far (out of nine total), three teams remain undefeated: New Zealand, Samoa and Kiribati. However, Samoa has a much larger aggregate score (the sum of total winning margins minus total losing margins, measured in kilograms) thanks in part to their stunning 1208.43kg win over Papua New Guinea on the weekend.
New Zealand had a tight-fought win over Nauru, claiming victory by a mere 146.6kg. New Zealand decided to go for their lightest team yet, and arguably did not send in their whole A squad.
It could be that they’re already preparing for the next round, in which they will face Samoa. Even though it’s still early in the tournament, this clash of the titans could eventually decide the outcome. Plus, we know that OWNZ’s Richie Patterson can be highly strategic when it comes to team selection.
Weight for it…
It’s interesting that if you just look at total weight lifted, you’d think Australia put together their best performance yet. But using this scoring system (combined weight lifted minus your combined body weight) Australia actually had their worst performance — despite recording a total well into the 3000s, which only two other teams managed to do.
This makes team selection a deeply strategic calculation.
This week, Kiribati competed against Fiji. Although Fiji put up their biggest total to date and even lifted more weight than Kiribati, Fiji’s total body weight was heavier and it worked out that Kiribati took the win by a narrow 80.97kg margin. Thus Fiji slipped down the leaderboard into last place, while Kiribati holds onto third place.
This competition really favours two types of teams, and we are seeing that play out as it goes on:
- A team that favours a low-volume/high-intensity training program that enables athletes to lift heavy more often;
- A team with a deep list of quality lifters, which gives selectors the option to shuffle the athletes around — giving people breaks when they need it — so each athlete can lift at their highest intensity each time they step onto the platform.
Will Samoa hold onto the lead or will they start to drop off as the tournament draws on? Can Kiribati maintain their podium spot as they start to come up against some of the more dominant teams?
All these questions and more will be answered right here on The Weightlifting Platform.