The next medal producing sport is likely to come from the most unexpected sport, shooting.
Yesterday, the Samoa Shooting Federation hosted their annual Nationals at the shooting range in Tafaigata.
The competitors both young and old displayed an amazing level of skill during the compeititon.
So much so, that the government is now interested in shooting.
The Minister of Sports, Education and Culture Keneti Loau Sio as well as President of the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C) Presient, Fepuleai Patrick Fepuleai were present for the opening ceremony. Minister Loa paid tribute to the Federation and commened them on their efforts to grow the sports. He opened the shooting Nationals taking the first shot of the tournament and nailed it!
The President of the Shooting Federation, Papali’i Francis Caffarelli, spoke to the Samoa Observer about the tremndous feats Samoa Shooting has accomplished and the hard work ahead to continue to develop the sport.
According to Papali’i, the shooting range was set up in 2007 for the South Pacific Games in Samoa. The fine facilties are being used and maintained by Samoa Shooting, mainly through self funding.
He stated, “It ‘s not a country that looks at shooting as a major sport but we’ve always tried to maintain the sport because of the cost factor. That’s why we always do fundraising so we can help the members out and help out with ammo prices and guns.”
“In the past we have been representing Samoa in different countries. Just last year , we were able to secure the first gold medal for Samoa in the South Pacific Games, which was quite an achievement. We also had a previous other shooters have medals in New Zealand Nationals and in Ocenaia we had a silver medal in the juniors. It was quite an achievement for us.”
For the first time, Samoa Shooting has been given the green light to include a junior divison to their competition.
“This year, for the first time, with the blessing of the Commissioner of Police and Prime Minister, who is now the patron for the Samoa Shooting Federtaion. He has given us the consent to start our juniors division, “ He stated.
The incluision of juniors is impertive for the development and conitutiy of the sport. The juniors portrayed and excellent level of skill and accuracy yesterday.
Papalii stated, “We saw the potential and saw this as something we can develop in Samoa by having juniors competing and these will be the future of shooters in Samoa and the sport.
We want to achieve Olympic and Commonwelath levels, but that’s yet another story because it requires an entire different set up as well. We don’t have all the machines that are required for the Olympics and Commonwealth. I think that is something we’re fundraising and looking at to get the machines to give us practice to give us Commonwealth and Olympic levels.”
A team from New Zealand also compteted in Nationals as well. They were estatic to be here for Nationals and well aware of the competiton in Samoa. Many noted the amazing facilites at Tafaigata and hope to see the sport flourish in the future.