Weightlifting: Patterson's Olympic vow for teammate

Richie Patterson was today confirmed in the Olympic team to travel to London. Photo / Ian Walton.
Richie Patterson was today confirmed in the Olympic team to travel to London. Photo / Ian Walton.

It is unlikely he will be able to gift him a medal, but Richie Patterson has vowed to bring Tevita Ngalu home a memento from London as a token of his appreciation.

Patterson was today confirmed in the Olympic team to travel to London. It will be his second Olympic campaign and he will compete in the 85kg class.

His qualification has already become one of the stories of the Games, not so much for what he has done, but for what others, and in particular Ngalu, did for him.

With a torn quadricep muscle, 39-year-old biscuit factory worker Ngalu nailed his last lift at the recent Oceania champs in Samoa, giving New Zealand enough points to qualify one spot for the Olympics.

"It was a wonderful story," Patterson said. "It's not ideal, obviously. You don't want to be lifting with an injury but I owe that that quota spot to Tevita and the New Zealand lifters that went before him.

"Throughout the week I was plotting the course of the competition, so I was in two minds about whether this was about to happen. If anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him and he pulled through. It was amazing."

When talking to the Herald, Ngalu spoke of how it was "only pain", not death. Patterson is thankful for his stoicism.

"I went and said some quiet words to him after the competition and now I'm going to London I will get him something Olympic there just as a thank you, so he's got some memory of it," Patterson, 29, said.

In naming Patterson for his second Olympics, the NZOC acknowledged his proven ability to finish within the top 16, but the lifter's sights are set a little higher.

"You can't predetermine a competition. You can't go there saying you're going to get fifth or sixth, 10th or 16th.

"If you can focus on your own result and doing the best you can do on the day, the result sorts itself out.

"I've been lifting exceptionally well in training, I've had some very strong competitions lately so if I can produce my best result over there I'm looking at placing pretty well.

"First of all the top 16, then hopefully top 10."

- APNZ

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