Va’a Alia up for Alo Paopao

By Mathias Huckert ,

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WELL PREPARED FOR ALO PAOPAO Team Va’a Alia’s coach Billy Peters in front of the team’s boat.

WELL PREPARED FOR ALO PAOPAO Team Va’a Alia’s coach Billy Peters in front of the team’s boat.

This Saturday, the question of who is the fastest over the two racing distances of 250 metres and 500 metres, will be answered.

 The competition for paddling supremacy begins for local and international teams, in this year’s Alo Paopao race. One of the local teams entering the water at Apia harbour is Va’a Alia, sponsored by the Millenia Hotel. 

The team that was founded in 2012, is indeed bringing some experience to the waters, as it has competed in races before. 

Team coach, Billy Peters was careful to be realistic about what may happen on the day.  

“The Alo Paopao will be our second race for the year and so far, we’ve participated every year since Ao Paopao was established. 

“But considering that this year, there’s a team coming from New Zealand, we don’t expect to beat these guys but maybe we can win the Bronze medal. Anybody who’s capable of going the 250 metres distance in, let’s say, 50 seconds and the 500 metres in two minutes, is pretty good.

So that might be a good mark to aim for,” said Peters. In fact, Peters’ team has already shown its strength in earlier editions of the popular race: 

“In our first Alo Paopao race, we managed to achieve the Silver medal in the 500 metres race, but if some people look at that race again in particular, I think we should have won the Gold medal”, said Peters with a grin on his face.

Winning one of the highly desired medals this Saturday is certainly not something that drops into a team’s lap without any kind of effort which  is why the Va’a Alia team has been through some tough training sessions for this year’s race. 

“We’ve been training twice a week and in this final week before the race, we will train every single day until Thursday. So far, I think the guys are feeling good and are ready to start. For most of our team members, it will be their first race, but that doesn’t mean they won’t give their best on Saturday.”

To make the Alo Paopao race a successful one for his team, Peters has devised a broad strategy in his mind that the Va’a Alia team will try to follow on the final day of racing at Apia Harbour. 

“For us, it’s really about the basics. If we can make a strong start, and maintain the right timing of the stroking without panicking and just letting the boat glide through, I think we’re good to go. The most important thing will certainly be to prevent getting tired in the middle of the race, especially during the 500 metres.”

Besides the competitiveness that will play an important role in this year’s Alo Paopao race, Peters also pointed out that it is always a pleasure for him and his teammates to paddle in this special event. 

“We just want to say big thanks to the Nafanua Club and Vailima Beverages for putting together the tournament this year and we hope for a fun race on Saturday,” Peters said.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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