There’s no better way to start off a tournament than to parade those involved for the public to see.
The annual Samoa Independence International Sevens (SII 7’s) tournament which will take place over the weekend will help make this year’s Independence celebration more enjoyable.
Crowds gathered along Beach Road to have their first real look at what this weekend’s SII 7’s has to offer with both local and international teams parading their matching uniforms and banners.
Led by our Police marching band, everyone involved in the SII 7’s slowly made their way to the government building where the awaiting Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi was ready to officially open the tournament.
It was a buoyant Tuilaepa who kept his message to the participants positive and encouraging, inserted a few of his customary jokes and included some information from his own genealogy.
“Have the heart of a Toa and don’t be afraid,” he advised.
“We need good players to lift the level of 7’s we have in Samoa; I applaud all those of you who will take part in this tournament.
“There is so much change from the previous years. I see more teams involved, I see more teams from overseas making the effort to be with us in this year’s tournament.
“Use this weekend to be entertained and don’t rely on the government to spoonfeed you. Use this event to showcase our young people’s talents and not let them go to waste.”
According to the P.M. this year’s tournament will be one to remember.
“I have been informed by the organizers of this tournament that this is going to be the most exciting tournament of the last three years,” he said.
“Namely because there are so many good teams from overseas competing for the first prize.
When I look to my right I see the Fijian side; the great champions in the world with rugby 7’s.
“I heard that there are also some teams from Australia and I see the women on my right. I ask if you agree that you have never seen paradise anywhere, you have just met it in Samoa, you have just experienced it here.”
The P.M. then jokingly offered the teams the option to remain in Samoa even after the tournament.
“My wish is that you stay here,” he said.
“If you can’t, then we can always go and see our immigration people, they are always generous for those who will play for Samoa.
“Even the Fijians, a thousand years ago, your great ancestors might have been Samoans, as I too am a descendant from the Tui of the Lakeba Islands which is why I am called Tuilaepa.”
The P.M. ended his speech by officially opening the tournament.
“So without further ado, enjoy your tournament and may the best team win.
“I now officially declare the tournament open.”