Anticipation builds as Samoa on verge of history

By Natasha Schmidt ,

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Ashlee Ausage, Koleni Koleni and Fogalele Misimoa.

Ashlee Ausage, Koleni Koleni and Fogalele Misimoa.

The news about Ele Opeloge becoming the first Samoan to win an Olympic medal, making history for Samoa, has created plenty of excitement on the streets of Samoa.

Although the official announcement is yet to be made, Ele who initially finished fourth at the Beijing Olympics, will win the silver medal after the silver medalist was disqualified for doping.

Ele Opeloge

Ele Opeloge

Kazakhstan's third-place finisher Mariya Grabovetskaya is also likely to lose her medal.

The news was greeted with smiles and jubilation by Samoans.

Ashley Nawanu, 26, from Papauta, said Samoa should prepare a party to end all parties when Ele arrives.

 “To me it is a great achievement,” said Ashley. “Not only for Ele’s family but for the whole country. Who would have known that Samoa would be in top of the world because of Ele Opeloge’s performance at the Olympics?"

“In Samoa she is the one who has led the way for the young athletes to do weightlifting, competing in the world stage and also in Samoa.”

Ashley said Ele has always been a role model but this will now place her among the greatest sporting names of all time.

“Ele should share her knowledge and skills in weightlifting to other Samoan women so that the sport will grow."

“I believe with all my heart that there are many Ele’s who need to be discovered.”

Fogalele Misimoa, who is a mother, is equally excited.

“We are very proud of Opeloge, her parents and all the supporters she has had over the years,” she said. 

She praised Ele for all of her achievement over the past years, saying she wants to meet her to say thank you. 

Ele Opeloge
Ele Opeloge

“Not many professional athletes win medals at the Olympics but Ele has done it. She is a hero.”

Koleni Koleni, 48, from Vaitele Fou, said Ele’s dedication to her country has finally paid off.

 “Ele Opeloge developed her skills in Samoa. 

She was born and raised in the country and therefore all of her skills started in Samoa,” she said.

“She is full-blooded Samoan and now she is one of the most famous sportswoman in the world!"

“She is an example for the youth in the country and for many of the women weightlifters as well.”

She said the government has to reward Ele and her coach, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork.

 “The other thing that was helping her back in the days was her coach, who is also Samoan. We should give credit to the coach and all the people who have helped Ele Opeloge achieve this medal for Samoa."

“All glory to God for her achievements, the family, the supporters of the family and the country. 

And as usual the county need more people like Ele Opeloge to see in the future.”

The President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork, was reluctant to discuss the development when he was contacted by the Samoa Observer. 

He said he would rather wait until the official results come in.

He later told Radio New Zealand that “we still may wait again another couple more months or a couple more weeks."

"I'm just really hoping that it will come out anytime soon. 

Samoa is very anxious and Ele is very anxious. 

It's history for us - to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games is something great and I just hope that they confirm it too."

© Samoa Observer 2016

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