Let the Olympic dream begin

Preparations are well underway for the next major sporting event in Samoa, Samoa Games 2016. 

 The three-day competition will take place from December the 6th-8th in Upolu and 13th-15th in Savaii.  The event will feature 17 sports such as archery, rugby league, golf, lawn tennis and much more.  

The Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C), Fa’amausili Taiva Ah Young, spoke to the Samoa Observer yesterday about the exciting upcoming event and the grassroots developments S.A.S.N.O.C is coordinating to ensure the production of quality athletes. 

 “We want to ensure that our local athletes have the opportunity to be selected as elite athletes.  This is the whole purpose of having these three competitions each year,” Fa’amausili said. 

“ We have one in Easter, then the one in Independence, which culminates with this one, which is a three day competition.  Basically we’re trying to develop competiveness in our athletes. Once that’s done, we’ll start selecting the elites from there.” 

Fa’amausili was adamant about including Savaii competitors in the Samoa Games to ensure the athletes are truly the best in the entire country and  develop a competitive edge in Savai’i.  

“I think to be honest, at the moment, it’s very urbanized and urban based. So we’re trying to get rid of that and start looking at the country as a whole. That’s how we get good selections of athletes. 

“This time we’ll be going to Savaii.  We’ve been doing training both in Upolu and Savai’i. 

There’s huge potential in Savai’i.  We’ve done surveys in 2014, and there’s potential there but it’s an untapped resource and potential.  We’ve done a lot of training in both islands now. 

“That’s why we’re having the Samoa Games in Savaii  as well.  There’ s going to be one in Upolu and one in Savaii. We want to see athletes participating and realize they have the potential of becoming representatives of our country.  It’s very important that they are aware.”

“We hope to do that. We hope to start an interisland and sincerely hope the Samoa Games will come to that, where Savaii can come and compete.”

Not only is S.A.S.N.O.C working on developing elite athletes but also working on certifying quality coaches and administrators. 

“We now have, highly qualified master educators. 

We have six master educators who have been trained, so those are the ones who are training locals. 

They’re all locals as well.  That’s one major step we have done, we have trained people to become trainers. Their role is to train other people as well.”

 “ And we’re hoping to start strengthening and conditioning courses.  We’re going all the way down to grassroots, not only develop athletes but developing coaching, administrators and umpires. “

“ Samoa is in a good position to start developing grassroots. 

We’re working very closely with the Oceania National Committee (O.N.C) and Oceania Sports Education program. Some of their courses are the one’s we are using here,” Fa’amausili said. 

 “ We’re very pleased to see a lot of National Federations. We have 38 national Federations that are registered with us, about 25 are very active in terms of training and getting their staff as well as athletes trained.”

S.A.S.N.O.C has also been reaching out to international sporting federations to tour Samoa and host clinics to upskill athletes and expose them to a different style of coaching.

“We’re encouraging international sports to come and help us.  Very fortunate, we got Australia to come. 

As you know, Australia’s number one. 

So by bringing in that number one country with their skills, we’re really imparting a lot of skills and talent to our local players.  We’re hoping to build it up from there.” 

“We’re encouraging other international federations too.  Ask even their counterpart in different countries to come. 

The opportunity is there and a lot of countries are willing to help.  

“Especially, we have neighbouring countries:  New Zealand number one in rugby, Australia number one in Hockey ,and Fiji number one in Sevens’.  So we need to tap into those.”

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