Bodybuilding might have been excluded from the list of sports for the 2019 Pacific Games but the man at the helm of the sport in Samoa, Benjamin Tamanikayaroi, remains upbeat.
It would be a lie if he said he wasn’t disappointed but the President of the Samoa Bodybuilding Federation said the sport is going through a rebuilding phase and it will only get stronger.
Bodybuilding was among minor sports excluded by S.A.S.N.O.C for the 2019 event. Surfing is another casualty.
Back in 2007 when Samoa last hosted the South Pacific Games, 33 sports were offered. This time round with very limited time to prepare, only 24 sports have been given the nod, with 16 compulsory and eight optional sports.
President of S.A.S.N.O.C, Fepulea’i Patrick Fepulea’i, they are sad with the exclusion of these Sports from the South Pacific Games Sports.
“We are so sad to come to this decision because these are some of the key sports that earned Samoa medals in the past,” he said.
For President Tamanikayaroi, he is not angry about S.A.S.N.O.C’s decision.
He admits that their last serious competition was back in 2011 and they are on a mission to revive the sport in Samoa.
“Samoa Bodybuilding as it stands at the moment is still a developing Sport,” he said.
“In 2011 was when we had our last competition where late Tapasu Leng Wai was the President of the Samoa Bodybuilding Federation.”
Tamanikayaroi said it would have been nice if bodybuilding was part of the 2019 Games but he understands the reasons behind S.A.S.N.O.C’s decision.
“We don’t have any other option but we have to agree with what Patrick Fepulea’i has set aside for us. Whether it’s the budget or just the development of the sport, we can only look ahead.
“I know what we have to do and that is to take one step at the time to re-develop the sport and once we do good with the amount of competitors, hopefully bodybuilding as a sport will make a return at the next Pacific Games after Samoa.
“For now, we are starting slowly. Like I said slow progress is better than no progress.”
Tamanikayaroi added that Samoa has many bodybuilders overseas who could compete.
“If we have to rush the process then we will be inviting our body builders from overseas countries,” he said.
“But that will discourages the local boys and push them aside and that’s its why we have start slow and focus more on the local boys.
“So far we don’t want to go against the decision but we have to move on and start reviving the Sport and produce positive results.”
The President believes development has to start from the bottom.
“It means we have to start from grassroots level, and back to square one. Our main focus now is starting with the new generation.
“Our people are blessed with the potential and the physique the sport requires. Many former rugby players can consider being a bodybuilder as an optional sport.”
As part of the efforts to revive the sport, there will be a competition later this year.
“We just need to get them used to the lifestyle of a bodybuilder and set their mindset for it because bodybuilding is not a short term goal, it’s a life style,” he said.
“On November this year the Samoa Bodybuilding Federation will be hosting a tournament to find the Mr. Samoa and a team from American Samoa will be competing as well.”
Mr. Tamanikayaroi said there are big names they are looking to attract for their first competition and it’s something they are very much looking forward to.