Eroni Leilua has qualified to represent Samoa for sailing at the Tokyo Olympics and the National Bank of Samoa (NBS) have teamed up with the Samoa Sailing Association (SSA) to guarantee Samoa’s first Olympic sailor competes in the games.
NBS is not new to the sport of sailing in Samoa, and have been supporting the Junior Sailing Development Programme at the Apia Yacht Club at Mulinuu for the past three years.
Chief Executive officer of NBS Mr Sam Swann said it was vital to ensure Leilua is given an opportunity to represent Samoa in a sport that is ingrained into Samoa’s heritage and cultural ties.
“Samoa’s first Olympic sailor is supported by locally owned and locally operated National Bank Samoa. We are proud to be backing one of our very own on the world stage and look forward to seeing Leilua safely compete in Tokyo”.
“Sailings is one of our oldest means of transport across the Pacific. It is one of the first ways to trade and to export between islands and it is a sport that we feel should get more recognition in our island today,” adds the National Bank of Samoa CEO.
The New Zealand based athlete has been preparing and testing himself against the best of New Zealand at national competitions across the country, and also fundraising with friends and family to support his journey to Tokyo.
SSA President Raema Von Reiche says she is grateful for the support of NBS particularly in view of current Covid-19 travel restrictions affecting all sports.
“Leilua’s safety and well being is a priority for us, however, he is prepared to travel and compete in the upcoming Olympics”, said Ms Von Reiche.
We are grateful to NBS for helping to make our first Olympic sailor’s dreams a reality and reach his full potential by competing at the Games”.
The SSA President says they hope Leilua’s participation at the highest global level of sporting events, will inspire more youth in Samoa to take up the sport of sailing.
“Youth will know that there are international opportunities through sailing as a sport” just like there is in rugby,” adds Ms Von Reiche.
Sailing is scheduled between 23 July to August 8th at the Tokyo Olympics.