Global role for local Tuaopepe

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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OLYMPIC MEDAL MOMENT: Having secured Samoa’s first Olympic medal with Ele Opeloge, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork said his goal now is to go one better and win gold.

OLYMPIC MEDAL MOMENT: Having secured Samoa’s first Olympic medal with Ele Opeloge, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork said his goal now is to go one better and win gold.

The President and the Coach of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation, Tuaopepe Asiata Jerry Wallwork, has landed a leading role in the development of weightlifting worldwide.

He has been selected as a Board member of the Executive Board of the International Weightlifting Federation (I.W.F) as well as the Chairman of I.W.F’s Coaching and Research Committee.

In confirming the appointment, Tuaopepe said he was shocked when he received the news through a letter sent by the I.W.F. President, Dr. Tamas Ajan, last week.

“Shocked was the first feeling that came to mind when I saw the email,” he said.

“I humbled myself and thanked God for all the blessings that he has blessed me with. I never thought my work would be recognized but you know when you work with a humble heart you will be recognized by many people.”

Tuaopepe is a man who hardly needs an introduction when it comes to weightlifting. Which is why it would be fair to say it is his passion, pride and joy.

 “The sport means so much to me. I want the young people weightlifting to have a better future in this sport and I want them to succeed in life. So this honour that I have received will benefit them and the whole country.”

Tuaopepe is especially pleased as he has become the only person in Oceania to have been appointed to the roles.

 “I’m looking forward to it. This will definitely help Samoa Weightlifting in a big way.”

Tuaopepe went on to say the opportunity means that Samoa now has a voice within the I.W.F.

“It means we get to raise concerns and everything that we know will benefit us in the long run,” he said.

“There are some issues that I will have to fight for like the transgender issue because this was a big one and it affected our lifter in so many ways.”

He is also excited about being the Chairman of the Coaching and Research Committee.

 “This position means I get to look after all the coaches worldwide. I’m honored because who would think that someone from a very small country could achieve this? I can see a lot of positive things coming our way in the long run.”

Looking at the immediate future, Tuaopepe said he has some goals.

 “I want to bring the World Championship to Samoa,” he said.

“Now that I’m inside, I can really fight hard now to bring the World Championship to Samoa because we do have the capacity to host that in Samoa.

“We have the facilities, the hotels and all the resources to host such an event here in our country whether it’s the Junior World Championship or the Senior World Championship.

“That is my first priority. In doing that we have to produce outstanding lifters in the world ranking which we’re starting to do now.

“We started with Ele Opeloge and few others that are moving up to that position.

“We have proven in the past that we can host big international tournaments not only in weightlifting but in other sports and that is a big beneficiary for not only weightlifting but Samoa as a whole.”

The President has also got big plans for the Samoa Weightlifting Federation.

“My plans before I retire is that I want to win the World Championships title starting from the juniors and move up to the seniors,” he said.

“I want to win an Olympic Gold medal. We’ve done the silver but it didn’t feel right because it was eight years ago and we didn’t get the recognition that we’re supposed to get.

“So I want Samoa to win those and it’s possible. We can do it and it’s going to be step by step. After all that then I will retire because I think we’ve done all that for the country and for the young people of Samoa who are in the weightlifting federation. Those are the short term plans and I’m positive that we can achieve all that.”

Lastly Tuaopepe dedicates all his achievements to his family.

“This is for my family, my children and especially for my parents,” he said.

“My biggest supporters are my parents Su’a Julia and Seiuli Paul Wallwork.

“Lastly my weightlifting kids. I know I can be so aggressive and hard on them at times but I want what’s best for them and most especially I want them to become great leaders in the future within the sport.”

Tuaopepe has been in the weightlifting Federation for more than 30 years.

He started as a lifter and in 1992 and 1996 he represented Samoa at the Olympic Games.

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