Perfect start for Team Samoa's youngest table tennis player
Samoan table tennis athlete, Cidrella Elisara, has had a perfect start since the competition kicked off on Monday, beating rivals from Palau and Fiji.
She has played four matches at the Harvest Center at Lotopa since the first day of the competition, and won the four matches on Monday and Tuesday.
The 15-year-old is the youngest member of Team Samoa’s table tennis squad and attends Leififi College.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Elisara said her participation in the Pacific Games would not have been possible without God and despite her lacking background in table tennis, she will now progress to the finals on Thursday.
"Firstly as a Samoan, I would like to thank our heavenly father for his guidance, if it weren't for him, none of this would be possible for me who has no background in table tennis at all and now I've been blessed to win both my matches so I'm very proud," she said.
The table tennis player actually grew up playing soccer and cricket, but unexpectedly switched to table tennis which is already have an impact on her life.
"Looking ahead to the future, it has become harder each day and as an athlete, I want to start from here, achieve my goals and make my family and country proud.”
Samoa’s table tennis team manager, Fusi Coffin, said Elisara is the team’s hope for a medal for Samoa in table tennis.
"At this point we're just hoping that Cidrella wins a medal for Samoa to reward for the five months she's been spending for training in China away from Samoa," she said. "At such a young age, she has made our team very proud, especially since the countries she has competed against were all pros of the game, so let's hope Samoa that Cidrella's games goes well."
Elisara lives in Toamua with her parents Vaine and Asotui Elisara and says her family are her biggest inspiration to achieving her goals in life.
While she intends to push herself further in the professional sport, she said her getting into table tennis was about being fit, having a healthy body, and being a role model to her families and friends.
Her experience in the sport is about a year old and this included a five-month training stint with Team Samoa in China this year.