The most recent reports about the arrival of the long-awaited Olympic Silver medal for weightlifter Ele Opeloge point to the month of February as a possible date the award will arrive.
Delays centre around the problems retrieving the medal from the original recipient, a shortage of medal stock and the need to get engraving done on a new one and the production of the corresponding diploma.
President and Coach of the S.W.F Tuaopepe Asiata Wallwork said he has been pushing for the medal to arrive soon but the delay is from the National Olympic Committee.
In an email sent by Tuaopepe to the N.O.C. Games Services Manager, Jessy Numan following up on the medal, Tuaopepe said, “I kindly follow up again whether any confirmation yet on sending Ele Opeloge's silver medal. As we reach the end of another week our Government and country anxiously await your advice.”
“You can appreciate that this matter has been dragged out and delayed for some weeks now and would appreciate your firm confirmation on status.”
Ms. Numan wrote back to Tuaopepe saying that the problem for the delay is that the National Olympic Committee is trying to get the medal from the person who had it.
“I have been in contact with the N.O.C. who are to send back the original medal and they currently have issues retrieving it,” Ms. Numan told Tuaopepe.
“We will therefore look into alternative solutions and hope to come back to you during this week on this.”
Tuaopepe told the Sunday Samoan that he is very anxious to receive the medal together with S.A.S.N.O.C, the Government and the country.
“The person affected the most by all this delay is Ele Opeloge herself,” he said.
“She is the one this is all about and she deserves this medal and about time, it was rightfully hers from the start.
“She is a humble person inside, and up to now she has not said much.
“I will continue to pressure the I.O.C. in regards to sending Ele's silver medal as soon as possible and I sincerely hope and pray that the Government of Samoa will reward Ele and recognize her performance.”
Ms. Numan told Tuaopepe that they fully understand the importance of the matter for Samoa.
“After further discussions with the Olympic Museum, we are currently looking at using one of our medals for Ms Opeloge as we have not received the medal back,” she told Tuaopepe in an email.
“Given that our stock is limited, our Museum team is also under stress in order to satisfy the demand and they have kindly agreed to use one of their medals for Ms. Opeloge.
“We will however need some time for the engraving and the production of the corresponding diploma.
“We will therefore be able to send you all the items around mid-February and we hope this arrangement will work for you.”