‘Against the odds’ changing lives in rural villages
Commonwealth Games boxing sliver medalist Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali is taking boxing back to the grassroots level.
In partnership with Marist Boxing, they have visited two rural villages in Siumu and Falese’ela, Lefaga to promote the sport of amateur boxing in those areas.
While at it, they have been giving away boxing equipment and running motivational training sessions to help inspire and revive the sport in Samoa.
Ato’s project, called Against The Odds (A.T.O.) aims to promote not only the sport he has excelled in but also inspire children and young people to live a healthy lifestyle and one of discipline, dedication and commitment to chase their individual dreams no matter their circumstances.
Ato’s project has helped establish a newly formed club and boxing programme in Sa’aga Siumu with the backing of Marist Boxing along with community leader Pastor Ula Mamea.
The programme helps young people to be involved in recreational activities as opposed to risk-taking behaviours.
A.T.O’s latest village visit was to Falese’ela boxing. There he has inspired many local kids to take up the sport with the help of his uncle, Tui Olsen Va’afusuaga, a local community leader and chief and also renown international boxing coach Bodo Andreas, who was a guest speaker and technical advisor.
“The dream is to recruit as many local talents to pursue the same path I took but with the guidance of myself and Marist Boxing,” said Ato.
“We want to assist and inspire them to believe that anything is possible and they can achieve anything no matter who we are and where they come from.
“That’s why I named my project “Against The Odds” because it is not only my name Ato but also to remind all of us Samoans that we can rise above and against all odds and we can do anything just like the Bible says, ‘we can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”