Olympic weightlifter David Liti has been named New Zealand Team flagbearer for the Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games which opens today, Sunday November 19.
The 26-year-old was named flagbearer by Chef de Mission Niniwa Roberts at a welcome reception hosted by New Zealand's High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Jonathan Schwass.
The 2023 Pacific Games is taking place between November 19 and December 2 in the Solomon Islands. The Games are a quadrennial multi-sport event which celebrates sport and Pacific culture.
Ninwa says David was chosen as a leader whose values perfectly represent and align with the New Zealand Team’s culture of manaaki.
“David is an amazing athlete as well as a leader in his sport and community,” says Niniwa.
“He is a proud Pasifika New Zealander and one who gives it his all as he represents our nation on the world stage. We look forward to marching behind him as he leads the New Zealand Team into the Opening Ceremony.”
David competed at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he placed fifth in the super heavyweight division with a 414kg total.
He is also a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist, having won gold at Gold Coast 2018 and silver at Birmingham 2022.
There are 5,000 participants including athletes, technical officials and support staff, from 24 countries competing across 24 sports at the games.
The New Zealand Team will be made up of 45 athletes competing across archery, athletics, boxing, Para table tennis and weightlifting.
The archery and boxing competitions in Honiara are qualifying opportunities for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, while the weightlifting and athletics competitions are part of wider qualification opportunities for the Games.
David, a South Aucklander, who spent the first 10 years of his life in Tonga, says it means a lot to be named as flagbearer.
“Being the one person to lead out your team, it’s quite a privileged position to be in. It’s a little bit different this time around, being named from a team you have known since the beginning of you career, it hits a little bit different.”
David says he’s looking forward to his third Pacific Games.
"I competed at the last two Pacific Games and it's a special competition for me with my Pacific heritage. There’s some really good weightlifters in the Pacific so it’s going to be a good competition.”
The results at the Pacific Games weightlifting competition provide ranking points towards qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The Opening Ceremony begins 7pm local time on Sunday November 19.