The Samoa Weightlifting Federation has done it again.
Competing against 17 countries and 450 weightlifters, team Samoa swept with another medal haul at the Australian International Open.
To add to the celebrations, almost the entire team have qualified for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
The man driving the team is their coach, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork who beamed with pride as he spoke about his team.
He told the Samoa Observer, “It was an outstanding performance I reckon. A lot of my team, almost all of them, produced their personal at some stage. I think to perform like that early in the year is remarkable and a good stepping stone as we look toward the Commonwealth Games.”
“They had a lot of good lifters from around the Commonwealth and the Oceania region. It was a good test event for us as we’re heading off to this year,” he said.
“The whole point of this competition was to qualify for the Commonwealth. They all made the qualify mark and rank within the top three of the Commonwealth Games come next year.”
Although this event has been hugely rewarding, Tuaopepe was disappointed that three of his team members could not attend because of visa issues.
Tuaopepe explains, “Three members of my team couldn’t travel because of visa problems. This is through the Australian Immigration Department. It was a bit of a disappointment for us because we also had three athletes that could’ve qualify but it has been made very hard for the Australian immigration to get visas.”
“I hope this doesn’t happen in the future because we also have a competition in Australia and these athletes must go in order for them to qualify. Australia is hosting the Commonwealth Games next year and they should allow athletes to qualify for the Commonwealth Games. That was just one of the disappointments from the trip.”
Despite the hiccup, Tuaopepe is thankful for the support they received to make this trip possible. He said, “We would like to thank the Government of Samoa, who funded the trip and approving our funds and helping our team get to this important competition.
They have made it possible for us to qualify of the Commonwealth Games. I want to say thank you for to our partner sponsors: Ah Liki Wholesale, B.S.P. Bank and S.I.F.A.
The team just touched down and they are already in the gym training for their next competition. In the words of Tuaopepe, “there is no time to lose.”
Siaosi Leuo - 2 Gold Medals
Petunu Opeloge - 2 Gold Medals
Sagele Mao - 2 Gold Medals
Nevo Ioane - 2 Silver Medals
Koliata Petelo - 2 Silver Medals
Iuniara Sipaia - 2 Silver Medals
Lauititi Lui - 2 Silver Medals.