Meamea Thomas’ first major international tournament as a senior was the 2003 South Pacific Games, where he received a gold medal in weightlifting’s light-heavyweight division, in addition to winning the clean and jerk portion of the event. In 2004, after setting a youth-level Commonwealth Record in the light-heavyweight clean and jerk and becoming Oceania Champion, he was selected to represent Kiribati in its first-ever Olympic appearance at that year’s Summer Games. He also carried the nation’s flag in the opening ceremony. After the snatch portion, Thomas was 17th out of the 18 competitors who performed a successful lift, and finished 13th overall following the clean and jerk, the best result in any sport for any I-Kiribati Olympian as of 2012.
After the Olympics Thomas’ career stalled for several years, but he came back in 2008 as national champion in the super-heavyweight division. The following year he won both portions of that event at the 2009 Pacific Mini Games and followed it up with silver in both rounds of the heavyweight category at the 2011 Pacific Games. He was crowned Oceania Champion in the super-heavyweight in 2012 and was still in training when he died in June 2013, at the age of only 25. Noticing a drunk driver heading towards a cyclist, he pushed the individual out of the way, but could not escape in time and was struck by the vehicle and killed.