$20,000 tala for Commonwealth Games Gold

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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Samoa Weightlifting team after receiving their award yesterday.

Samoa Weightlifting team after receiving their award yesterday.

Samoa’s gold medalists from the recent Commonwealth Games are $20,000 better off thanks to their heroics at Gold Coast, Australia.

Weightlifters, Feagaiga Stowers and Sanele Mao, who won gold medals, have been presented with the monetary awards to recognise their achievements. 

But they are not the only ones. 

Commonwealth Games Silver medalists, Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali, Don Opeloge and Lauititi Lui, each received $4,000.

The weightlifting coach, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork, has been rewarded with $10,000.

The announcement and presentation of the monetary awards were made at the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C.) headquarters, Tuanaimato, yesterday.

Opeloge told the Samoa Observer that he was thankful for the reward. 

“This is a blessing for me even though it is Silver medal, but this is the first in a Commonwealth Games that we get to be paid,” the young weightlifter said.  

“In the previous years, it is mainly those who have Gold medals who are rewarded. I know this because I was in the squad and it is what I was told.”

The 18-year-old believes weightlifting has taken him places and he is keen for more experience.

Don Opeloge
Don Opeloge

“I will still remain in weightlifting so in that way I will be able to have a Gold medal. The motto in our weightlifting group is to be in the same spirit, to reach to the top and get a Gold medal. We are not allowed to settle for second best.

“It is a lesson to right the wrongs that I made for the upcoming competitions. 

“One of the challenges I faced during the competition was the mentality that there were others who were stronger than me and I was able to win over them.

“I made a few mistakes and I was not able to achieve the goal I had in mind. It was like the battle of David and Goliath.” 

As the youngest of six children, he is confident of what the future has instilled for him.

“Last year I graduated from Avele College and this year I am currently studying at the national University of Samoa, aiming to be an I.T. person in the future.

“Knowing how to balance is one thing, walking it out is another.

“I want to do both school and sports, in that way I could if other fails I have another option. If school fails then I have weightlifting to turn to, if I get injured from weightlifting, then I have my education to fall back to.”

He thanks his family for all his achievements so far.

“My siblings who have retired from this game have always encouraged me to do better and to be better. To always be honest in my training and train hard.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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