P.M. Tuilaepa draws crowd to Pacific Games archery
The participation of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi in the Pacific Game's archery competition attracted quite a crowd at the Faleata Complex on Tuesday.
The 74-year-old was shooting confidently on the second day of the archery competition in the men's compound division.
Among the spectators was the Prime Minister's family as well as Members of Parliament, who dropped by to show their support for the Head of the Samoan Government, despite restrictions on access in the field of play.
Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II, and Member of the Council of Deputies, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, were also spotted under a tent at the archery competition site.
Le Mamea was also there to cheer on his daughter, Fauono Sina Mualia, who was competing in the women's recurve division.
"We have high expectations we're going to get medals from archery and plus our prime minister is competing, so there is definitely pride and excitement," said Tammy Sasani, who was among a group of friends who came to support Team Samoa.
Archery is Samoa's first sport to win a gold, from 18-year-old Jil Walter, plus a bronze medal from 19-year-old Naifoua Vise Timai.
Tuilaepa said although archery isn't a traditional sport, Samoa has been blessed to win a gold medal.
"And this is possible due to the great help form China, in taking Samoa's athletes to China, where they were there for four months, learning how to shoot arrows.
"New Caledonia and Tahiti have been putting on a strong competition but now we have also provided good competition, otherwise we would have just been hearing New Caledonian anthems over and over again," he said.
The Prime Minister also commended China for their contribution to the success of the athletes, which included working under Chinese coaches whom they returned to Samoa with.
"This brings great happiness to our small organization that we have landed the first gold medal for Samoa," he said. "With the expectation that the rest of the sports will follow suit throughout the week, so Samoa can have a substantial amount of medals."
The P.M. added that it is possible to target and land more gold medals for Samoa in archery.