10 June 2019, Apia Samoa. The Samoa Weightlifting Federation returned to Samoa yesterday afternoon with 3 gold medals, 2 silvers and the best overall male lifter for the IWF Junior World Championships.
Held in Suva Fiji last week, 20 year old Don Opeloge was the best overall male lifter and became Samoa’s first ever medalist at an International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) event. He has come home with 2 gold medals while Fegaiga Stowers secured 1 gold and 2 silver medals.
President of SASNOC Fepuleai Patrick Fepuleai, Chef de Mission Nynette Sass, CEO of SASNOC Tuala Matthew Vaea, family members and members of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation were seen at the arrival area of Faleolo international airport, all eargerly awaiting the team.
Fepuleai on behalf of SASNOC congratulated the team as well as the President and Coach Tuaopepe Asiata Jerry Wallwork, for putting Samoa on the map.
He added, the standard of the competition that they participated in Fiji, is much higher than the Pacific and the Commonwealth games.
“O taaloga lea na tou auai atu ai i le lā vaiaso o taaloga a le lalolagi, e maualuga mamao atu a le standard nai lo o taaloga o le pasefika ma taaloga fa’avaomalo, ma ou te iloa e toeititi lava tutusa ma taaloga o le olympic games.
“The games you’ve just participated in is at a level much higher than the Pacific or Commonwealth Games, they closer to the level of the Olympic games,”
“E faamalo atu ia te outou le fanau ona e le o se mea faigofie nei faagatama sa tou tausinio ai.
Fepuleai congratulated the athletes and reminded them that prepararions are ongoing with the Pacific Games, now just four weeks away.
Fepuleai encouraged them to work to their potential, and continue to put Samoa on top by winning more medals in the Pacific Games.
“O le fautuaga, aua tou te nofonofo i le mea lea ua oo nei iai outou.
“Ia faalogo i le faiaoga na ua faataatia atu le plan agai i luma mo outou ae aua le sao tele i le ulu le mea lea ua iai ona o lea e iai tatou taaloga o le pasefika lea e toe 4 vaiaso ona amatalia lea.”
Speaking to the media Tuaopepe Asiata Jerry Wallwork said team Samoa aimed for the top and at the end they came through.
He added that this is the first time in 30 years the team have won gold medals at the Youth World Championships.
“O se pine muamua lea i taaloga a le lalolagi.
“Ua 30 tausaga talu na iai le miti ina ia ausia se pine i taaloga o le lalolagi ma e mamao lava le mea sa taula’i ai le miti, ae peitai o lea ua faataunuuina le matou miti.
“E le gata ua taunuu ua maua se pine ae ua tatou ausia foi ni pine auro.”
Tuaopepe said their next focus now is the Pacific Games with the team going into training camp from now until the games.
“We are hosting so we are aiming for medals to commemorate this great milestone of Samoa hosting the Pacific Games,”
“O le auga lava ma le fa’amoemoe ia ausia e tatou ni pine ona o lea ua fai mai iinei ta’aloga ma e tatau foi la ia tatou le host country ona maua ni tatou pine e fai foi ma fa’amanatu ia i tatou lea fa’amoemoe.”
The team will start training today and in the next few weeks will select a team to represent Samoa in the Pacific Games next month.