The resurrection of the Samoa Games has made the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, the happiest man in Samoa. He expressed delight yesterday when he spoke to officially open the Games, at the end of a parade on Beach Road.
Minister Loau congratulated S.A.S.N.O.C, especially President Fepulea’i Patrick Fepulea’i, for reviving the event.
“I am more than pleased,” he said. “In fact at this very moment, I am perhaps the happiest Cabinet Minister in Samoa as I stand here to declare the 2016 Samoa Games officially open. “Why? Because the resurrection of the Samoa Games after being absent for more than ten years could not have come at a better time where our sports accomplishments on the international scene is at crossroads.”
To overcome this challenge, the Minister said the basic solution is to realign the priorities and place the focus on grassroots as well as athletes.
“We need to overhaul our sports priorities and focus with you our athletes as the most important ingredient to lift our international sports profile,” he said. “We need more than just to reviving sports in attempts to address our country’s poor performance at major international events.
“As a sporting nation, we need to invest in our young athletes like you and to inspire Samoa’s athletes to be more determined and motivated to aspire to higher honours.
“And we need to revisit our strengths and our weaknesses to move forward.”
The Minister went on to say that most important lesson that the government is aware of is the need for solid partnership between government and sports bodies.
“This partnership will see government not interfering with sports administration but will serve as a key support of sports developments,” said Loau.
“This is crucial for the development of sports but most importantly, it will be athletes who will be the centre of these developments, not the Minister of Sports or the coaches and officials.
“After education the government places high priority on sports developments as a way for our young people to create successful futures and become assets and not liabilities to their families, villages and our country.
“I was once sitting where you are sitting right now, before I became a Manu Samoa for 12 years and played over 50 international games for our country. “[And” I kid you not; amongst us today are future sports ambassadors that will be representing our country in the future.” He urged the athletes to be at their best during the competition and learn from one another.
“[And] always remember that you are the future of Samoa’s Sports.”