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Labausa joins 4-month camp in Samoa, breaks personal best

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ANTONETTE Labausa, a bemedalled member of the CNMI 2018 weightlifting team, is at the Samoa Water Authority’s High Performance Training Centre for a four-month training camp that started on Jan. 7 and will end on April 19.

Antonette Labausa attempts to complete the clean & jerk at a training camp in Samoa.  Contributed photo
Antonette Labausa smiles as she completes the clean & jerk at a training camp in Samoa.  Contributed photo

In preparation mainly for the Oceania championships in April in Nauru, she was invited to train with the Samoan team by Samoa Weightlifting Federation president Jerry Wallwork.

“The opportunity presented itself when I was contacted and invited by Jerry Wallwork, the head coach of the Samoan weightlifting team shortly after the Pacific Games in Samoa which our weightlifting team was unable to attend due to the lack of funds,” Labausa told Variety. “To get to this camp, I have had to sacrifice a lot. When I was invited, I decided to quit my job as a teacher at Da’Ok Academy and follow my dreams. I independently looked for sponsors,” she said. And she found them: Saipan Vegas, Latte Built and Fishing Tackle.

“I was blown away when I received the support of these small businesses in our community who believed in me and agreed to sponsor me. Without their support and my fiancé, Jordan Monderen, I would have never been able to experience this,” she said, referring to the Samoa training camp.

Labausa has shown her worth as a member of a weightlifting squad that brought home 15 medals — the most by any CNMI team — in the 2018 Micronesian Games in Yap. “My ultimate goal now is to put 20-30kgs on my weightlifting competition total which is comprised of two exercises, the snatch and the clean and jerk,” she said. “In addition, I want to be the Oceania champion of my weight class (women’s 76kg) or at least earn a medal at the competitions that I will be joining this year. Which is why I have decided to put myself through this high level of training with other high-level athletes. If you want to be the best, you have to train with the best. I also would like to come back to this camp before another competition and hopefully bring along other lifters who have the same goals.”

Labausa trains up to three times a day, six to seven times a week. The training includes squatting, variations of the snatch and clean and jerk, along with other exercises that keep the body strong to prevent injuries.

This is Labausa’s first training camp and it is everything and more that she has ever imagined. “I have always wanted to train at a high level and become a better athlete, so I am happy that I decided to do this,” she added.

After training for nearly a month in Samoa, she has already broken her personal best. Her record was 96kg, but on Jan. 18, she lifted 100kg for clean and jerk. This has given her a boost as she prepares for two competitions: the Australia International Open on Feb. 28 to March 1; and the Oceania championships in Nauru from April 21 to 26.

“As a teacher, I also wanted to show my students that you can experience your dreams, and you can live them. But of course you’re going to need a strong work ethic in life along with a strong mind that will keep you going even when it gets tough,” Labausa said. “I want everyone in the CNMI to know that this is for us! When I win, we all win. I have been learning a lot here and when I come back, I want to help grow the weightlifting sport in the CNMI with the local weightlifting federation, and to help other sports get stronger with weightlifting. Weightlifting is a very tough sport that shows you that the only way to get better, is to work harder.”

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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