Sports Awards hits snag

By Deidre Fanene ,

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Leadership Samoa 2015 Spokesperson: Sioeli Alofaifo

Leadership Samoa 2015 Spokesperson: Sioeli Alofaifo (Photo: Facebook)

Some of the active sporting teams in Samoa are not participating in the first sports awards project powered by the Vailima Leadership Samoa 2015 group. 

The teams that have not shown interest in the initiative includes the Weightlifting Federation, Judo, Swimming and Hockey. 

All other local sports bodies have backed the Sports Awards event. 

However, the Leadership Samoa 2015 Spokesperson has clarified that it had not excluded the sporting teams from being part of the Sports Awards. 

Spokesperson, Siolei Alofaifo said part of the reason is a ‘no’ endorsement from the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C.). 

Mr. Alofaifo explained that some sporting teams had raised questions of whether S.A.S.N.O.C. endorses the awards. 

“...What those sports administrations and sporting bodies should understand is that there is no regulation in Samoa that states unless S.A.S.N.O.C. endorses it they can be part of it,” said the Spokesperson. 

“The only people who have the right to endorse something are the government which they already have and they gave us the okay to go ahead with our award. We don’t need an endorsement from S.A.S.N.O.C. 

“The Prime Minister and the Minister of Sports are supportive of our event so I don’t know what the big deal is of having two sports awards.”

Furthermore, Mr. Alofaifo pointed out they only want to acknowledge and encourage athletes and different sporting administrations. 

“It’s not about us but about our athletes and administrators,” he said.

“This is not about the search for power or glory; we just aim to do something good for our athletes and the sports they represent. 

“The main reason is to have as many organisations as we can  on board to support and recognise the work done by our athletes who are competing and putting Samoa’s name on the map.

“Not only that but to create incentives to motivate them to look forward to and to have a little bit of money to help them out at the end of the year.”

Mr. Alofaifo emphasised that the profit of the money collected from the event will be invested back to an allocated sports body. 

“50percent of what we get from the event will stay with us to help with the next award next year and the other 50percent we will be giving out to sports organisations to help out with their development.”

Contacted for a comment, S.A.S.N.O.C President, Fepuleai Patrick Fepuleai said he had some reservations about the Leadership Samoa’s project for a Sports Award. 

In response to an email, Fepuleai said he was approached by the group about their initiative “but at the time S.A.S.N.O.C was already in the planning stages of reviving its sports awards. 

“My reservation with the request was that it was a one off exercise then it would be dormant again. The matter was raised at our Board meeting and it was decided that S.A.S.N.O.C does its own sports awards and this was held on 16 April this year. 

“We have also set a date for the next sports awards next year, which will be on 18 March 2017 and the idea is we honour and celebrate the achievements of our athletes, coaches and sports administrators every year and not on a one off basis.”

According to Fepuleai it would be inappropriate for S.A.S.N.O.C. to endorse a sports awards bearing in mind that they too will be hosting a similar event. 

“We have decided that it better be left with each National Sports Federation to make their own decision whether to submit their nominations or not,” he said. 

“After all, the letters inviting nominations from Leadership Samoa were addressed to the National Federations and at the end of the day, S.A.S.N.O.C as the governing body of sports in this country is the appropriate body to run these sports awards.” 

One of the teams that will not be part of the event is the Weightlifting Federation. 

The Weightlifting Federation President, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork supported Fepuleai. 

He said S.A.S.N.O.C is the rightful body to run such award. 

He believes that the event should be done jointly between S.A.S.N.O.C and Leadership Samoa. 

“I am not against the Leadership Samoa’s sports award but we are an Olympic sport and we come under S.A.S.N.O.C so whatever S.A.S.N.O.C says we support it,” said Tuaopepe.

“We stand strong as an Olympic sport under S.A.S.N.O.C and what Leadership Samoa is doing is okay there’s nothing wrong with it.

“But we’ve got no involvement in the Leadership’s sports award and we are not playing politics or anything, but we are just doing our sport and following the constitution of SASNOC.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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