Director of the Fight for Marist Boxing Tournament, Tavui Mike Lemisio and former Australian Olympic boxing coach, Bodo Andreas toured the island of Savai’i on Tuesday after the success of the Marist’s boxing event last weekend.
The two visited Don Bosco College to address the children and generate grassroots interest in boxing as part of the Prime Minister’s new initiative to revive interest in the sport.
“Boxing is a very old Olympic sport, in fact one of the first. Since then, boxing has changed dramatically in the training, the teaching methods, the technical standards, scoring, even the type of gloves we use,” Andreas explained while on the one day tour on the Big Island.
After successfully conducting a boxing clinic for local Samoan coaches in Apia earlier in the week, Andreas visited Don Bosco in Savaii to share his wealth of experience in boxing as both a fighter and a former Olympic coach.
The Marist St. Joseph’s Spports Club and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi have been working to develop talent and revive interest in Samoan boxing. The addition of boxing to the Marist International Sports Week and the invitation extended to Andreas are both efforts taken by the partnership between the Prime Minister and Marist to achieve their goal.
In their visit to Savaii, Andreas and Tavui spoke with the principal of Don Bosco, Fr. MoseseTui, and organized a visit to the students and staff. The visit was an accomplishment for all involved.
Upon arrival, the students of Don Bosco sung an enthusiastic welcome for the German-born boxing coach who was amazed by the reception. “I have never, ever experienced a welcome like that one, in all my years of travelling, it was amazing! Glorious!”
Students of Don Bosco also enjoyed the visit. Young pupils Feleti Fa’amaoni and Juliana Kay Amani both enjoyed a session of shadow boxing with the charismatic coach as the entire school watched in delight.
“It was such a joy, he was such fun!” English teacher, Sr. Monika Vaipuna exclaimed. “Something about his personality and energy really spoke to me. It was really good to have him at the school.”
After the excursion to Savaii, Andreas will visit the Prime Minister tomorrow then later in the week with the Executive of the Marist St. Joseph’s Sports Club to discuss his future commitment to further developing boxing in Samoa and perhaps, lock in a date for a return trip.
* Derek Davies is one of three media exchange students from James Cook University studying at the N.U.S. Media School. They are assisting the Media Team of the Marist International Sports Week.