A mixture of feelings was expressed by the Opeloge family as they celebrated a momentous occasion yesterday.
They were happy, that’s for sure as they have been waiting for this moment for such a long time.
But there were also some tears and sadness.
However, that did not stop Oloali’i Niusila Opeloge from smiling as he proudly clapped and looked up at his little sister as she went up to receive her medal.
It was a moment Ni’usila said, he will never forget.
Ni’usila was the first Opeloge from the family to go out and pursue weightlifting as a sport.
His younger sisters followed his footstep. He was also a mentor for his younger siblings.
At the medal presentation ceremony yesterday, Ni’usila said his heart was filled with joy.
“There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing your sister finally get what she deserves,” said Ni’usila.
“As you are aware, we have all been waiting for this moment for such a long time. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are here today because Ele achieved something great for our family and country."
“We are here to celebrate her success and her hard work. The fact of the matter is that she worked really hard to get that medal that’s for sure, and for that reason alone, we all have to humble ourselves in front of the good Lord and give thanks to Him for His blessings."
“This day will never be forgotten by our family and our children will live to tell stories of this day to the next generation.
“And no matter what, this is her moment and we are here to celebrate her success.”
Reflecting back on his little sister’s journey, Niusila said that he is very proud of the woman Ele has become.
“She is a fighter,” Ni’usila said with a smile.
“She has been a through a lot and I know that getting to where she is now, was not easy. She had to overcome a lot of challenges to get that medal."
“A lot of people did not think she would make it and that she would get this far, but I knew and I believed in her because she is a fighter."
“That’s Ele, she doesn’t give up easily and she always want to do her best, for our family and for Samoa."
“I am very proud of her and her achievements."
“You know when I first started, and then Ele followed the same path, it wasn’t easy. For me, I had to do my best because my younger siblings were looking to me for motivation."
“But I have to admit that although most of the time, Ele always asked me for advice and for help, there were also a few times I got help from her, my little sister."
“She doesn’t say much. All I had to do was to look at the way she trains every day and I get motivated.”
Moreover, Ni’usila said he was confident that she was going to get a medal from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
“I had high hopes and high expectations. I knew she was going to get a medal."
“That’s because I saw how much she worked and trained hard preparing for the 2008 Olympics. She gave it her best too."
“I helped her and was there for her every now and then. But most of the time, I just stood from afar and looked at how much she sweated and how much she trained just to get the best results."
“So I knew she was going to get a medal.”
He also said what happened to his sister was sad.
“I just wish they had done their investigations then on the other players who used drugs so they could have presented the medal to Ele earlier."
“But there’s no point now because it’s all in the past. What we can do now is to give back the glory to God and see where we can go on from here.”
Nevertheless, Ni’usila said Ele has set a path for the other Opeloge’s to follow.
“We have children now and they are also interested in taking the same path as me, Ele and my other siblings."
“Now that Ele has received a medal from the Olympics, this can be a challenge for our children. If they are serious about weightlifting, then they can all look up to Ele and try to achieve the same or maybe get a gold medal.”