It’s about time

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Two is sure better than nothing. And when it comes to Sports Awards, the idea that there will soon be two occasions where Samoa’s finest sportsmen, sportswomen, administrators will be honoured is wonderfully inspiring. 

It’s not just inspiring; it is without a doubt long overdue, given the fact that the last Sports Awards was held back in 2007. It sure has been a long time between drinks.

If anything, perhaps the absence of an Award ceremony to recognize excellence in sporting achievements couldn’t have spoken more accurately about the state of sports in Samoa.

The truth is that while many sons and daughters of Samoans representing other countries have been excelling in their chosen codes with enormous success (thank goodness), it’s hard to say the same about the domestic scene.

But that doesn’t mean we should paint everyone with the same paintbrush. We say this knowing that there are many hardworking individuals and organisations who are doing the very best they can given the multiple challenges they are up against.

If we are honest with ourselves, the scourge and the challenges when it comes to the development of sports in Samoa are not new. One of the biggest obstacles is that athletes often come second to power-hungry administrators who place themselves above everything – including the very people they are suppose to prioritise. Because of that, athletes lack the support and the attention they deserve. And the results speak for themselves.

Then there are other challenges of course. There is always the issue of finances, the lack of quality competition, coaches, depth when it comes to athletes to choose from and more. 

And we haven’t started talking about the elite level where champions are made and separated from contenders. The type of sports science that deals with the activities of an athlete from the moment they wake up until they go to bed. The stuff that monitors their diet from the water they drink to every bit of food that goes in their mouth. 

In Samoa, the reality is simple enough. Our athletes train hard, very hard. But when they go home to nothing but a falai elegi or fried chicken with rice, there goes all that hard work. Yes reality bites and that’s what it comes down to.

Now we’ve gone off the rails a little bit here in terms of our topic but I guess the point needs to be made that some sports bodies, athletes, administrators – despite all the challenges and the disappointments - deserve to be recognised for their hard work. And that’s what the two Sports Awards in the pipeline are gearing up to do.

First there is the one that is being organized by the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C) for 16 April 2016.

President of S.A.S.N.O.C, Fepulea’i Patrick Fepulea’i, said the planning for the event started last year and their hope is not to make the same mistake of waiting eight years until the next one.

Nine awards will be up for grabs. Among them are an award for Junior Sportsman, Junior Sportswoman, Senior Sportsman, Senior Sportswoman, Coach of the Year, Administrator, Athlete with Disability Award and the Supreme Award.

The second Sports Award is the one organized by the Ta’imua Samoa 2015 under the Leadership Samoa Programme. Scheduled for the end of the year, the Awards ceremony was launched on Thursday.

A key figure behind the Awards is the C.E.O of Leadership Samoa, Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun. 

 “Sports is one thing that unites this nation and we’ve witnessed that with the 2010 world series champions, everything that has to do with sports has the potential to inspire nations,” he said.

“If a sports person does well for Samoa then the nation rejoices together and forgets all their problems.”

We couldn’t agree more. Such is the power of sports which is why our sports women and men deserve that recognition.

According to Aiono Nafoi Peseta, the Chairperson for Taimua Samoa, awards ceremonies are a celebration of talents, success and achievements. He’s correct. It gives athletes incentives, it motivates them and it inspires a new generation who follow their progress. 

For the Ta’imua Samoa Awards, there will be 12 awards on the night. They include: Junior Sports Woman of the Year, Junior Sports Man of the Year, Sports Administrator of the Year, Manager of the Year, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year, Empowered Athlete with Disability of the Year, Sports Woman of the Year, Sports Man of the Year, Sports Body/Organization of the Year, Lifetime Achievement award and Sports Person of the Year.

These are without a doubt wonderful awards. 

But what do these Award ceremonies have in common? 

Both will be seeking sponsors from perhaps the same companies to make these awards happen. And it’s not going to be easy. 

Which brings us to the point that perhaps both awards should add one more category to their lists. That should be an award to honour the businesses, individuals and the companies who provide the bottom less pit of funding that have been keeping Samoan Sports running in the past and well into the future. 

What do you think? 

In the meantime, we can hardly wait to see who will be honoured.

Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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