The mother body of sports in Samoa, the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C.) has confirmed plans to stage a grand celebration for Ele Opeloge when her Olympic medal arrives.
President of S.A.S.N.O.C, Fepulea’i Patrick Fepulea’i said they are waiting for the final details about when the medal is likely to arrive before they can release the details about the national celebration.
“Ele has already been confirmed of her silver medal,” he said.
“[But the medal is still with the person who had it before so the I.O.C have to go and uplift it from that person because it’s not like there’s a spare medal that they can give to Ele.
“And because work has just started I am working together with the President of the Weightlifting Federation here in Samoa in contacting the I.O.C to send the medal here either to S.A.S.N.O.C or Tuaopepe so we can plan a proper presentation of the medal.”
Fepuleai congratulated Ele and said they are looking forward to the occassion. There are some issues though that have to be ironed out.
“As we all know as well that Ele has migrated to New Zealand now so we have to get her at our expense to come here for the presentation,” said Fepuleai. “We also have to coordinate with the government to see what they will do for Ele. We are talking about the Olympics, whether they will do something to reward Ele for her medal.
“This is the Olympics we are talking about and it’s completely different from the Commonwealth and the Oceania competitions.
“So at the moment I am still in contact with Tuaopepe and also the O.N.O.C to see who I contact straight and follow up with the medal and whether the I.O.C has got it now.”
He went on to say that a proper presentation should be done because Ele has put Samoa on the map. “We can plan a proper presentation because to me personally this is one of the greatest achievements in sports here in Samoa,” he said.
“We really have to carry out an appropriate ceremony for this but we haven’t got into details yet on what to do.
“I have also read that she can’t come because of her visa so that is something we have to work around as well.
“So we haven’t formalised anything at the moment other than the medal has been confirmed so now we are working with the I.O.C to send the medal here to Samoa.
“To us this is a big deal for our country. Even the Oceania Weightlifting Federation they are making a big deal out of it.
Asked for a comment, the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture. Loau Keneti Sio said he is waiting for the Presidents of Weightlifting and S.A.S.N.O.C to provide him the details.
“At the moment I’m waiting for Tuaopepe and Fepuleai to provide me with the reports,” he said.
“At the moment I haven’t been informed of anything so once they provide the infos then probably by next week the government will have something.
“Cabinet will probably have a meeting to discuss what should be done for Ele and the milestone that Samoa has achieved.”