Apia, Samoa – The Samoa Squash mens national team recently concluded their participation at the Oceania Squash Federation closed Championship, held at the Nadi Sports Club in Fiji from October 2nd to 12 th 2023.
The Championship started with a team event and concluded with individual men and female competition.
Samoa’s Men’s team comprised of Ivan Chewlit (Team Captain), Onesemo Old, Leo Fatialofa, Geoffrey Marfleet, Vaifale Patrick Ah Him, and Jobenz Manoa. The Women’s team showcased the talent of Lucy Thompson, Opera Monzari, and Chelsea Johnson.
Guided by Coach Muliagatele Chad Rankin, Assistant Coach Apa Fatialofa Jr and Manager Faumuina Michael Kapisi and accompanying the team was Samoa Squash Racquets Association President Lilomaiava Taumalaulu Filifilia Iosefa.
The tournament witnessed fierce competition, with Samoa competing against formidable players from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and New Caledonia.
In the Men’s team event, New Caledonia secured gold, Fiji claimed silver, and Samoa clinched the bronze medal after a narrow loss to Fiji.
In the women’s team event, New Caledonia secured gold and Samoa secured silver after a hard fought battle with Fiji who took home the bronze.
A momentous moment in the tournament was the final battle for gold in the individual men’s event contested by Apa Fatialofa Jr (New Zealand) and Marika Matanatabu of Fiji with Marika of Fiji winning gold.
It had been many years since the final didn’t have a representative from Pacific Powerhouse New Caledonia.
Samoa’s Chelsea Johnson was unfortunate to have missed out on an individual bronze medal in her debut campaign for Samoa.
President Taumalaulu Filifilia Iosefa said squash may not be a featured discipline in the Pacific Games this year, however, the Samoa Squash are grateful to the Oceania Squash Federation for organizing this year’s Oceania Championship.
“Given the limited resources for minority sports, the significance of sponsors, families, and
friends cannot be overstated,” said Taumalaulu. “Their unwavering support enabled the Samoa Squash team to participate in this vital event, providing island youth and athletes with valuable opportunities to excel and thrive in the realm of sports.”
The Samoa Squash Racquets Association wishes to express its deep gratitude and
heartfelt appreciation to some of their key supporters that made their participation possible.
“Special thanks go to Samoa Commercial Bank, Apia Concrete Products, Samoa Finance Company Limited, Coin Save, Hotel Millenia, Federal Pacific Insurance, Mrs Lucy Thompson, the NZ squash fraternity of Manurewa and Henderson and Mr. Justin Ho of Fiji.
“Additionally, we are immensely thankful to the Government of Samoa for their invaluable financial assistance through SIFA and the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC).”