11 July 2019, Pacific Games Apia Samoa. Samoa’s beach volleyball championship duo of Eneliko Tui and Neval Stowers will be playing the Tahitians today in the semi finals of the men’s doubles.
To reach the semi finals the Fagalii village club players defeated Palau and upset Tahiti earlier in the week.
Speaking with Samoa Global News 20 year old Neval Stowers says they are staying humble and focused on the task ahead.
“E faamoemoe lava i Le Alii e foai mai le malosi ia i maua,”
29 year old Eneliko Tui is married with 2 young children and says that his wife Susana is a great supporter of his efforts to represent Samoa.
Tui and Stowers won Gold for Samoa at their very first taste of International Competition when they upset Australia at the Avarua Games in April this year.
More used to playing conventional volleyball as seen across villages in Samoa, Eneliko says the rules of Beach Volleyball are much more complicated and somewhat tougher than the game of volleyball they know.
Aaron Alsop married to Samoan medical doctor and netball international Sopolemalama Tuitama says that the achievement in Avarua
“We were invited to an Asia Pacific Tournament in Australia called the Avarua Games and there were teams from all over Asia and the Pacific;
“We didn’t know what to expect but for us to get through to the finals and win the Gold medal was a pretty big achievement for the boys.
Alsop says Team Samoa beach volleyball were able to take a development mens team as well as a womens team to the Avarua Games
“That was a great opportunity to develop players and prepare for these games.”
As is common for many sports in the Pacific, beach volleyball is an amateur sport mostly self-funded by committed coaches, administrators and the players themselves.
“We were very lucky to have had some sponsorship support from overseas to take the players to those games because at the moment there is no funding for volleyball in Samoa;
“The Northern Territory Government funded accommodation and visas and then we had some private sponsors;
“A personal friend of ours, the Grant family who owns BLK provided uniforms for us.”
Alsop and beach volleyball administrators are hoping that the success of their athletes will rally commercial sponsorship for the sport locally.
Alsop says they are grateful to Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) for the use of their courts for training.
“SROS has been amazing in letting us use their Court. It’s a recreational facility but it was something for us to train on.”
“We were very lucky to have that support but I think it’s at the next level now and hope we can secure corporate sponsorship”.
Alsop says Beach Volleyball provides a lot of mileage for corporations compared to costs involved to fund a team.
“Beach volleyball is not like funding a full soccer team or a full rugby team.. its just two players.”
The coach remains confident in Tui and Stowers as they face the Tahitians for the second time this week.
Come down to Beach Volleyball behind the Central Bank of Samoa building and support your team.