Kiwi weightlifter takes in opening ceremony from own home before Olympic debut

It really is an Olympic Games like no other.

Just a handful of Kiwi athletes were on show in the athletes parade during the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony last night, and while others were back in the village preparing for their events, some were watching on from their own homes in New Zealand, yet to fly to Tokyo due to Covid-19 protocols.

Among those was Commonwealth Games champion weightlifter David Liti, who had the odd experience of watching the opening ceremony take place at an Olympics he is set to compete at - all from his home in Otahuhu.

"I really just wish I was there to experience the whole thing," Liti admitted to 1 NEWS.

Kiwi weightlifter David Liti claims gold and a Commonwealth record in the men's 105kg+ division. Source: Photosport

New Zealand's weightlifting, track cycling and karate athletes will only fly out of the country five days before their event due to strict Covid-19 protocols at the Games.

"It's just making sure everybody's safe really," Liti said. 

"That's the only reason why we can't enjoy the whole package, the full package of being at the opening ceremony."

For Liti, being at home was actually rather fitting, the weightlifter being able to share the moment with those who were behind his journey from South Auckland to the world stage.

"We started this journey as lifting friends and then the bond grew thicker, it turned into family," Liti's close friend Montel Tivoli told 1 NEWS.

"To sit here and watch the opening, to know that he's leaving next week to do what we all used to love and we all dreamed to do, and just knowing that as long as one of us made it, it's just a big achievement," fellow friend Brayden Brown said.

Liti hopes the Olympic platform will be a chance for the Commonwealth champion to inspire many more.

"I hopes it does reach a lot of kids out there, especially from here in South Auckland where the streets have become a little bit of a troubling area to be at, and I hope kids see this and they decide to choose sport over courts."