Winning a medal is surely something to be proud of, but winning a medal alongside your child will leave any parent’s heart heavy with pride and joy.
That’s how Muaausa Joseph Walter felt when he and his daughter, Jil Grete, received silver medals for archery at the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu.
Aside from attaining a silver medal, Muaausa’s daughter, Jil Grete Walter, was also the youngest archer competing at the age of 16.
This was no small feat especially as Jil was shooting with a beginner’s bow competing against adults and even defeating the defending champion.
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Muaausa said there’s no greater feeling than to have your daughter compete alongside you.
“I have always been very proud of my daughter,” he said.
“She managed to pick the sport very well and run with me. I have been part of and have a huge passion for the sport, so competing alongside my daughter is just a very great feeling for me.
“Traveling to Vanuatu for the Mini Games with my daughter made me extremely happy and the added bonus of our silver medal gives me much pride.”
But how did it all begin for the Walter family duo?
According to Muaausa, his daughter first picked up the bow five years ago and he has enjoyed watching every minute of her journey.
“I suppose this all started a few years back,” he said.
“She is still using that same bow she started with. I always say that archery can be fun; it’s one of those sports that as you go further into it, it requires a lot of discipline and focus.
“For me, watching my daughter’s journey with the sport was great. We had a lot of fun along the way so that makes me really happy.”
In terms of moving forward, Muaausa said they were looking into more international and regional tournaments, which would help develop his daughter’s shooting skills.
“My daughter has many opportunities laid out before her,” he said.
“She has potential for many international competitions so we are just looking into seeing if she is able to qualify for them due to her age. We are looking into the youth Olympics because her age is just okay with that. We are also going to work on getting her to that level needed to compete.
“Another competition we are looking into is the upcoming Pacific Games; this would be the main event for us to look forward to.”
As for Muaausa himself, he feels that there will always be room for growth for any type of athlete.
“For me personally, I picked up a lot of key lessons during the Mini Games so if I am able to hone my skills and perfect some of the techniques I have learnt then I will be able to improve and accelerate with my shooting,” he said.
“As an athlete, I understand that there is always room for improvement. The past games have been very educational so that will definitely help me down the road.”
Muaausa gave much credit to his family’s accomplishments, to his wife who has shown undying support for them.
“She has been the driving force and always backs us. She encourages us all to do our best. I would also like to thank members of our association for being very encouraging, especially our chairman, the Prime Minister.”
According to Jil, the Mini Games was another learning platform for her. Although the much older competitors were a little intimidating for the young athlete, she buckled down and showed much focus in what she went over to do.
“Vanuatu was a very good experience for me, I learnt a lot from that experience,” she said.
“Going up against much older competitors was a little scary. It was weird. I was actually very nervous in the beginning, but then as we got closer to the end, I found it to be a great competition for me.”
Jil added although she started off not liking the sport, she grew into it quickly and has enjoyed her journey leading up to her silver medal accomplishment.