The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, has defended the Government against claims the funding of sports is unfair.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, the Minister dismissed claims the Government is not investing enough money on the development of sports like weightlifting that consistently produce results for Samoa.
“I am puzzled as to why members of the public are complaining that the Government is investing more money in rugby than any other sport, when in actuality Samoa Rugby Union is self-funded,” he said.
“This is exactly what we are doing at the moment. The Government invested $233,000 on the teams attending the Commonwealth Games."
“The eight members of the weightlifting team including the Managers get a fair share of those funds.”
The Minister did not have the exact figures about how much goes to who.
But he dismissed criticisms that the Government spends too much money on rugby when their recent international results have been dismal.
“You see, we invest in the development of all sports, weightlifting, volleyball, English cricket, tennis, basketball, rugby, squash, boxing etc,” he said.
As of yesterday afternoon, Samoa had won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Loau couldn’t be any prouder of the achievements by the Weightlifting team.
“I want to congratulate them for a job well done,” he said. “We will celebrate upon their return to Samoa.”
Back to the question of funding, Loau said the Government is not biased.
“The point I want to make is that the Government’s financial assistance is not limited to just rugby, we have also invested in numerous other sports."
“I do not recall the exact figures, but it is a fact the Government has invested in other sports.”
The call for the Government to invest in a state-of-the-art gymnasium for weightlifting has been downplayed by Loau noting they already have what they need.
“The weightlifters, since the beginning, have set a great example in terms of good training and I must say that every time their team travels for games, they bring home medals."
“And in return, the Government has assured the equipment and resources they need is made available."
“The current gymnasium they have is up to par with a professional weightlifting workout place."
“They have all the equipment they need and I am behooved to say when they travel, it will not be a matter of if they would win a medal, rather it is the numbers of medals,” said Loau.
He commended the weightlifting teams and the management for their outstanding performance placing Samoa on the top 10 countries competing in the Commonwealth Games.