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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 10:37 GMT
Son beats dad in Cook Island tie
By Matt Majendie
BBC Sport in Melbourne

Sam Pera senior is now retiring to let his son take up the lifting mantle
Sam Pera snr is retiring to let his son take up the lifting mantle
Mrs Pera will be a happy woman in the Cook Islands, according to husband Sam.

The 36-year-old took on his son in the 105kg weightlifting class in Melbourne on Wednesday - a Commonwealth Games first - but came off second best.

Despite the defeat, the father of five - he has three more sons and a daughter back at home - could not be happier.

He told BBC Sport: "It's just as well he beat me. My wife told me before we flew out to Australia that I'd be in a lot of trouble if I beat my son."

Sam snr added: "Thankfully she'll be happy with the result. It's important to keep the boss happy and there's no denying she's the boss."

Although the pair finished well out of the medals - in ninth and 10th respectively - the Peras were the star attraction in the field, dad whipping the crowd into a frenzy with his cheeky smile and left-right stare after every lift.

The majority of that noise came from 10 family members just a few rows from the stage.

COOK ISLAND FACTS
Population: 18,000 (UN, 2004)
Capital: Avarua, on Rarotonga
Area: 237 sq km (91 sq miles)
Prime minister: Jim Marurai

Among those present were Sam Snr's sister-in-law, Tokorima Teariki, who swapped the Cook Islands for Melbourne four years ago, and his nephew Kiki, who travelled from his home in Sydney for the competition.

Kiki said: "They've done good but we reckoned Sam Jnr would beat his dad all along. He's such a quiet kid but he's a really good kid and we're proud of both of them."

The Pera lifters had only just met up with their family a few hours before the competition - "we had to get them the tickets to get the supporters in," explained Sam Jnr.

And the teenager was quick to thank them for their support.

He added: "I always wanted to beat my dad as he's always set the standard for me growing up. I'm really proud of what I achieved here and what he's achieved throughout his career."

Sam Snr, who last year gave up his Oceanian sports scholarship to allow his son to take it up, used the end of the competition to announce his retirement from the sport.

"It's time for me to step away and put bread on the table for my family," explained the veteran of the Athens Olympics, where he finished 13th, and the Manchester Commonwealth Games, where he was fifth.

One Pera is over with weightlifting but another is going to continue to do me and the family proud
Dad Sam

Away from weightlifting, the Peras have their own farm in the Cook Islands, which the rest of the family have been looking after in their absence.

And Sam Snr, who lists his other hobbies as the beach, music and partying, believes he might lose more helping hands to weightlifting in the future.

"I've got three other sons who are aged 13, 10 and two who might take it up one day too," he said.

Ahead of the competition, both men were coached in their own makeshift gym at home by Mike Terarki, while Sam Jnr has also spent the last two months training in a specialised program in Samoa.

His dad, who was the Cook Islands sportsman of the year in 1994, 1995 and from 2002-4, explained: "It's been good for Sam and he's going to be great. He used to watch his dad lift when he was younger and he's just got better and better.

"One Pera's over with weightlifting but another is going to continue to do me and the family proud."

His son is in full agreement even going as far as to set himself ambitious goals.

He said: "It's the Junior World Championships first, then the Commonwealth Championship and hopefully by 2010, Commonwealth gold."





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