5 June 2023, Apia Park, Samoa. The Motherland concert that brought the best of Samoa’s music artists from around the globe to close Samoa’s 61st Independence celebrations was a great success as far as entertainment shows go.
However, the aftermath has left the nation’s main athletic sports track and international rugby field in a “painful” sight.
Rain and thousands of happy feet dancing to their favorite Pacific jams has left a sea of mud. Everywhere.
Many of the public have aired their frustrations on social media about the state of the Apia Park track and field following Saturday’s concert.
Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance who leads the coordination and preparation of the Annual Budget estimates for Samoa posts:
“It’s even more painful to see when you know exactly how much it costs to rehabilitate that field 😒”
President of Samoa’s Athletic Association, Leiataualesa Jerry Brunt who had recently captained the Telefoni o Va-i-nuu fautasi at the Independence race also took to social media with concerns that Apia Park would now need to be closed for renovations at a time when athletes need to prepare for major international events.
“Whose going to clean that mess up? The field and the track?”
“How long is Apia Park going to be closed?”
“Our athletes need to train for the Oceania Athletics Cup, the Commonwealth Youth Games and the Pacific Games..”
Leiataualesa says the strict limitations to the use of Apia Park which they and other National Sports Federations (NSFs) have had to abide by over the years, seemed to have been ignored during the Motherland event.
Leiataualesa adds that different sports in Samoa have to share the only synthetic track in the country, now completely smothered in mud.
“Our throwers are not allowed to throw inside the Apia Park and at times our athletes are stopped from training… to make way for other sports or events.”
The Manu Samoa rugby 15’s are due to play host test matches at Apia Park this July, however, the event most urgently affected by the current state of the Apia Park field is the 35th Digicel Marist International Rugby 7s tournament set to start this Thursday 8th June at the Apia Park Stadium.
Teams from Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Fiji arrived into Samoa over the weekend to vie for the prestigious Tupua Fred Wetzell Championship trophy.
Questions have been sent to the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Sports Facilities Authority (SSFA) for clarification as to when the track and field would be fit for use.
Marist St Joseph’s Sports Club have not yet issued a position as whether the games could be held at the Apia Park Stadium.