‘Ask Prime Minister Tuilaepa’

By Ulimasao Fata ,

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SAMOA'S GOLD MEDAL HEROES: Feagaiga Stowers and Sanele Mao.

SAMOA'S GOLD MEDAL HEROES: Feagaiga Stowers and Sanele Mao. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

The President and the Head Coach of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork, averted questions about whether his gold medal duo from the Commonwealth Games would receive financial rewards for their heroics.

When the Sunday Samoan put the question to Tuaopepe during an interview, he said that was not an issue for him to deal with.

 “That question should be asked to the Prime Minister and the Government,” Tuaopepe responded.

The Sunday Samoan could not ask the Prime Minister for a comment. On Thursday during a scheduled weekly interview between the Prime Minister, Radio 2AP and the Samoa Observer, Tuilaepa flatly denied the Sunday Samoan the opportunity to ask him questions.

Instead, he told the Samoa Observer reported to write down the questions and send it to him.

Last week, Samoa’s weightlifters, Sanele Mao and Feagaiga Stowers, won Gold medals each at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. 

Mao reigned supreme in the final of the 105kgs Men’s division with Stowers emerging victorious in the +90kgs Women’s division at the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre.

Tuaopepe said he was proud of his team’s performance.

But he is clueless as to whether there will be a national celebration to honour his team’s achievements. 

“We’ve done our work, the hard work,” he said. “We have delivered the performance. So with monetary issues and celebrations, that’s entirely up to the National Olympic Committee and the Government whether there will be any special celebration.

“If not, we accept it anyway. We are happy as long as we have done our part and put everything into it.”

The Samoa Weightlifting Federation however will have their own celebration.

“Yes we are going to have our own quiet little gathering, a very low profile one. I don’t know if there’s any special march going to be arranged by S.A.S.N.O.C .and the Government, but that’s out of my hands.

“I think we do it mainly for the flag, and for the country, for the pride of the country, and the pride to represent Samoa, and nothing else

“Just to see that flag flying up high, to me that’s the best result that I can ask for from my team, from my lifters, and that’s worth all the hard work.” 

Tuaopepe reiterated the Prime Minister has the final word on whether there will be any money given to the Gold medalists.  

“So the question has to be asked to the Government whether there will be a reward for this Commonwealth Games Gold medalists,” he said. 

“There has been a criteria set aside or approved by Cabinet. Over the past, Gold medalist of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 each received $50,000.

“As Prime Minister has spoken out clearly, only Gold medalist can win, so even the Silver medalist from the Olympic Games, Ele Opeloge, did not receive anything. 

“This is because the criteria approved by Cabinet are Gold medalists from the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games are to be given monetary rewards.” 

Tuaopepe added that their performance at the Games is by far one of the best. 

“So this team I think would be the strongest and the best performed team that I’ve taken to any Commonwealth Games. 

“I am very proud and also credit goes out to the lifters who worked very hard, they would be there at our early morning training, and even the evening training, nobody misses training. 

“So the credit goes back to the lifters themselves for they have been training very hard under the programme given to them and they have disciplined their lives, and they deserved whatever is coming to them.”

Samoa’s national weightlifting team finished off the Commonwealth Games with two Gold and two Silver medals.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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