The moment Samoa has been waiting for is only a few days away now.
Our nation’s hero and first Olympic medalist, Ele Opeloge, is making her way to Samoa next Thursday to accept her silver medal from the Beijing Olympics.
The champion weightlifter, her husband and two children are flying over on Virgin Samoa, scheduled to touch down at 9.25pm to what is expected to be a hero’s welcome.
Ele’s much-anticipated homecoming has been made possible through the sponsorship of Island Rock Company Limited.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, Hannah Wallwork, the Chief Finance Officer of Island Rock, said they are extremely excited.
“Island Rock Co. has always been a strong supporter of Samoa Weightlifting and naturally we are more than happy to extend that support to enable Ele Opeloge to return home for this historical occasion,” she said.
“She deserves to be with her family and the people of Samoa that have supported her in her journey over the years.
“We are delighted to be able to assist in that way.’
“I can confirm that Island Rock is sponsoring a return airfare for Ele Opeloge and her family to arrive next week.”
The sponsorship is valued at NZ$5,000.
The programme for Ele’s time could not be confirmed.
It also could not be ascertain who would present the medal and when the official presentation would take place.
But when Ele spoke to the Samoa Observer two weeks ago, she said she couldn’t wait to come home.
She was especially excited about finally receiving her Olympic medal.
She was also in tears about the overwhelming support she has so far received, including the establishment of the Samoa Observer Ele’s Fund.
“I thanked God for the Samoa Observer and those people who have helped in setting up this fund raising for me,” she said in tears.
“I just don’t know how to say thank you, only God knows my heart.
“After talking to Tuaopepe, I was crying knowing that there are true hearts out there that support me, and have carried me all those times when I was in that arena, and even now; not just in those times.
On learning last year that she would be awarded the Olympic Silver medal, Ele said she was stunned.
“You know when you’re out of words, then you express yourself through tears; and that was me when I was first told about it.
“I cried tears of thanks, tears for answered prayers, that the truth has finally been revealed; especially because this is the first time that Samoa has been recorded in the Olympic records in the world.”
With Ele returning next week, Samoa Observer’s Ele Fund will be closing next Friday.