Mary Opeloge is a quiet achiever. Although she has been in outstanding form for Samoa during the past years winning regional and global competitions, she is often in the shadow of her older sister, Ele.
But being nominated for S.A.S.N.O.C’s Sportswoman of the Year Award is an opportunity for Samoa to honour her achievements.
As the name suggests, Mary comes from a well-known family in weightlifting.
She is proud and honoured to have been nominated for the award.
“I come from a family who is well known because of this sport and as I grew up I wanted to continue the legacy,” she said.
“I started lifting in 2007 and my first competition was the South Pacific Games that was held here in Samoa and from then on I wanted to be on the top.
“I was in school at that time and then I had to choose between school and weightlifting. I chose weightlifting because I was passionate about the sport.”
The decision was a tough one for Mary.
“The sport requires a lot of time and I couldn’t give that while in school. There is a lot of training and a lot of travelling. I had to make up my mind and I chose weightlifting because it is something that I didn’t want to give up.”
Asked about the challenges of sport, Mary said the biggest challenge is time and physical pain of training.
“The most challenging part of it all is time and constant training,” she said.
“In weightlifting, you have to train every day.
“This means that we don’t have time to spend with friends and do what we want to do because all of my time is with the weightlifting.
“Training in the morning and training in the evening we can’t afford to waste any time on anything and be distracted by anything.
“So the most challenging part of it all is time and the sacrifice we have to make. “We train six days a week morning and evening the only day we break is Sunday.”
But the young lifter thrives upon the challenges. “I’ve come a long way,” she said. “So for me to quit and let go is really hard. “My biggest motivations are the ones that were before me, I know it’s a hard sport and I also know that we don’t get anything in return from this but it’s what I love and I don’t want to quit because I have worked so hard to be here. “So there is no way that I will quit and it’s very hard to build up.
“We do this for our country and we want to promote our country to other countries.”
She went on to say that being nominated in the sports award is a big thing for her but winning an award or not it will not stop her from doing what she loves which is to lift weights – and the name of her country.