Sacrifice and hard work is the lot of a sports coach, according to Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork.
As the Samoa Weightlifting Federation president and long serving and successful coach, Tuaopepe is a contender for Sports Coach of the Year in the Samoa Association of National Olympic Committees sports awards to be held at the end of the month.
In his interview with the Samoa Observer, Tuaopepe said his nomination is not really important to him because the event really highlights the athletes.
“To me it’s not that important to be nominated as one of the coaches in S.A.S.N.O.C.’s Sports Award but it is important because of the recognition of the athletes who represent our country,” he said.
“It’s good to have a Sports Award event to recognize the athletes and all the sports people and hopefully it will be an ongoing event every year so we can recognize our athletes and their performances.
“The nomination is just a nomination but I do thank the S.A.S.N.O.C. for nominating me as one of the coaches.
“However, I think the highlight of the event is the athletes and that is the important part of the evening.”
Tuaopepe said he it is true that he has sacrificed a lot.
“I guess the only thing I haven’t sacrificed is my life,” he jokingly said.
“For the last 30 years of my career I have sacrificed so much but I don’t ask for anything back; all I ask for is good performances from my lifters and to represent the country with pride, but not for money.
“Not only for me but also in other sports too. I’m sure that all the other coaches sacrificed so much for their Associations and that is one thing about being a coach; it’s all about sacrifices.
“I also acknowledge the other sports coaches and it’s a great thing for S.A.S.N.O.C. to host this event and I support them 100 percent.
“The Sports Awards belongs to S.A.S.N.O.C.; they have the right to this and that is why we are behind this 100percent.”
Throughout the 30 years of being in the Federation, Tuaopepe said there were a lot of goals that they managed to achieve.
“We have set up many goals from the start. Our first goal was to conquer the South Pacific Games not just to win medals but to conquer it which means to dominate the gold medals at the South Pacific Games and we have done that,” he said.
“The next, was to win gold medals at the Oceania which was hard back then because New Zealand and Australia dominated the Oceania but we’ve now done that also.
“Not only have we done it but we conquered Oceania by dominating the gold medal tallies there.
“Our next goal was to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games and we have done that we have conquered it all, we have Commonwealth records.
“Our last goal is to win a gold medal in the Olympics. Now I know it’s hard but we have to try and it’s achievable. “After all of those goals have been achieved then it will be time to retire and give the chance to the next person in line.”
Throughout those achievements there are always challenges within any sports and the main one for the Weightlifting Federation was the funding.
“Another of the challenges that I had to deal with was the discipline of the kids,” he said.
“To get them used to the life of hard training I needed to instil and build it in them and it doesn’t take five or six years but it took me 20 years to build that thought in the team and so now they are used to it; they know what I want from them.
“The other challenge is the pressure from the families telling them to go find jobs and not waste their time in weightlifting because they don’t get paid for doing this.
“[And] the other vital challenge that we have to deal with is the funding, struggling every year to do things because there is no funding.
“So many times the funding comes out of our own pockets but that’s life and that’s how sport is, but we still keep going.
“So those are the main three points of the challenges that we have to deal with but we have broken down most of them and with trust in Lord, we believe everything will be okay.”