Kiwi weightlifting hero David Liti is still coming to grips with his new found fame after he won gold in the men's 105kg+ division and was awarded a special sportsmanship award on Sunday night at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
The 21-year-old star told 1 NEWS that he still can’t believe the attention he is getting from fans and media.
"It's unreal, I never expected it to come (sportsmanship award). I feel honoured to represent New Zealand and our whole team. It's good to bring it home," Liti said.
He was welcomed at the Auckland airport tonight by family and friends who held up a huge welcome banner upon his arrival through the gates.
"It's crazy, family is a big thing for me as well, also my siblings and everything – we stay together as much as we can, we don't technically live with our parents they are back in Tonga."
Liti said he knew his Samoan rival Lautiti Lui who won silver in his division and injured his knee.
"So he dislocated his knee and he's one of my friends actually, I met him back in 2015 and he was close with one of the lifters I used to train with."
After winning gold in the men's 105kg+ weightlifting division, Liti congratulated Samoan lifter Lui by shaking his hand during their medal ceremony and showed great respect by wheeling his injured opponent off the stage.
"So through him I was able to be close with him (Lui) and even though we compete against each other we still give each other grief and joke around outside of competing," Liti said.
"It was just an honour to push him and thank him for being the man that he is, he pushed me to becoming a better person."
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