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Tuvaluan lifter Esau looks forward to Olympic debut
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Logona Esau from Tuvalu, the South Pacific island welcomed to the Olympic Family last year, said he is looking forward to his and also his country's debut at the Olympics.

"I will get to know the Olympics during the competitions," he told Xinhua Thursday.

The 21-year-old weightlifter in the men's 69kg category will be the flag bearer for his country at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on Friday.

"Watch me (at the opening ceremony) please," he said.

Tuvalu has sent three athletes to Beijing. The other two will compete in track and field.

Esau made history at the Palau mini-games, gaining Tuvalu's first medal in international competition when he won a bronze.

His entry total for the Olympics is 260kg, ranked the last but two of all the 31 lifters in this division, in which China has sent two, Olympic champion Shi Zhiyong and rookie Liao Hui. Esau said he didn't set a goal for himself at the Games.

"Just try my best," he said.

Although Esau is the only lifter from Tuvalu, Dika Toua from Papua New Guinea, another South Pacific island country, said all the Oceanian weightlifters will cheer him up during the competition as they have trained together for a long time in the Oceania Weightlifting Institute.

Paul Coffa, general secretary of the institute, said the idea of training together was to keep lifters within their own environment and they are not looking at Olympic medals at the moment.

"We're just trying to get good results and get the athletes to understand what the Olympic Games are about. It's not just another tournament," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2008)

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