From the files of #FaaSamoa, Fri 21 Oct 2022. The Government of Samoa via the Gambling Control Authority (GCA) awarded Samoa’s Commonwealth Games gold medalist and weighlifting sensation Don Opeloge, with $20,000 tala.
An award of $10,000 tala presented to Samoa Weighlifting Federation President and Head Coach, Tuaopepe Asiata Jerry Wallwork, was immediately donated back to be distributed evenly between athletes who won silver at the Commonwealth Games.
Speaking to the media after the ceremony, Tuaopepe said he has received with gratitude the honour awarded by the government through the monetary gift, however, he would like the funds to be given to Samoa’s silver medalists.
“I know well the struggles of being an athlete, and I would like to donate this back, to be evenly distributed between those who won silver medals..”
Four athletes won silver medals for Samoa at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Three were weightlifters – Vaipava Ioane Men’s 67kg, Jack Opeloge Men’s 109kg and Feagaiga Stowers Women’s 87+kg.
The fourth silver medal was won by Ato Leau Plodzicki-Faoagali for boxing heavyweight.
Samoa’s only Commonwealth Games gold medal in Birmingham was won by Don Opeloge who took out the men’s weightlifting 96kg category with a total lift of 381kg – a new Commonwealth Games record. Opeloge had won a silver medal for the 85kg category at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018, and his years of hard work and determination was awarded with a cheque of $20,000 tala today.
Minister for Public Enterprises, Hon Leatinuu Faumuina Wayne Fong presented the monetary awards as a token of Samoa’s appreciation for achieving gold at the Commonwealth Games.
The Minister said the current administration was following the previous government’s mandate of awarding the gold medal winners, however, he said in future, consideration would be given to other medalists.
The Minister also advised SASNOC – Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, to submit funding proposals early, so government can source a relevant SOE or Authority to fund assistance and performance incentive bonuses for athletes.
SASNOC Secretary General, Sifuiva Maureen Tuimalealiifano spoke on behalf the Samoa’s National Olympic Commitee to express thanks and appreciation to the Government of Samoa for the awards.