Samoa shooters aim for national title, Pacific Games squad
The Samoa Shooting Federation held the first day of it’s national competition yesterday, with the three-day tournament at Tafaigata doubling as trials for Samoa’s Pacific Games squad.
Around 20 shooters are taking part in the shotgun competition, which the double barrel section held yesterday, single barrel today and points score tomorrow.
Shooters are faced with 100 targets each day.
Among the competitors was Federation president Papalii Francis Caffarelli, who said the top six shooters will enter the training squad for the Games.
“We’ve always in the past picked the team a day or two before the competition.
“The mistake there is we’re always competing, not practicing.”
He said training well in advance of the Pacific Games will ensure Samoa have a strong shooting team.
The team will also travel to New Zealand for their nationals in March, and again for the Oceania Championships in May.
Papalii said overseas competition is key.
“It’s good to mix with international shooters.
“The atmosphere is totally different, different shooters, different level.”
Shooters from Niue and New Zealand have come to Samoa to compete in the nationals.
“We invited other countries too but they couldn’t make it,” Papalii said.
“You’ve gotta do your firearms permit, get all the information, so it’s quite a lengthy exercise to take a team overseas.”
He said shooters here looking to compete overseas almost always have to do so out of their own pocket.
“There’s not much funding from the government, once in a while we do apply and get some funding.”
Papalii said sponsors like Taula keep the sport going.
“If it all comes out of your own pocket, at a certain point you give up because it becomes too expensive.
“Hopefully with the Pacific Games and more media coverage of shooting, people will understand it more as a sport.”
He said Samoa have a very good chance of picking up some medals for shooting at the Games.
“We won our first gold medal for shooting in PNG.
“Samoa is a bit better set up than most of the Pacific Island countries.”
Papalii identified Fiji and Papua New Guinea as also having strong teams.
There are three shooting clubs in Samoa; Le Pe’a, Alliance and Apia Clay Target Club.
Once a month, one of the clubs will be responsible for hosting a tournament.
Papalii said on top of this competition, shooters in Samoa train every week.
He said that will ramp up once the Pacific Games squad of six has been determined.
Papalii said shooting is a mental sport.
“You’ve gotta be mentally prepared and hold your calm.
“If you’re nervous and thinking about other things, you’ll never get the targets.”