Oceania Weightlifting Federation pay tribute to Tongan star Lolohea

The Oceania Weightlifting Federation paid tribute to Tongan weightlifting star Maamaloa Lolohea, who died aged 52.

Known as "the gentle giant", Lolohea represented Tonga at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the men's over-105 kilogram category, finishing 13th. 

He also competed at two Commonwealth Games, coming sixth at Manchester 2002 and placing just off the podium in fourth at Melbourne 2006. 

Lolohea earned a gold medal at the South Pacific Games in 2003, having also triumphed at the South Pacific Championships in Tonga in the same year. 

Following his retirement in 2009, Lolohea received the Oceania Coaching Diploma and became a national coach for Tonga. 

"Maamaloa Lolohea will be greatly missed, not only in the weightlifting world but also as a dear friend," an Oceania Weightlifting Federation statement said. 

"Maamaloa was possibly one of the most loyal people you could hope to meet. 

"He greatly treasured friendship.

"On behalf of the Oceania Weightlifting Federation, we extend our deepest condolences to the Tonga Weightlifting Federation, to the Tonga National Olympic Committee and of course most importantly we extend our deepest sympathies to his family."