School spirit brings Leulumoega Fou College back to the track after four years
The principal of Leulumoega Fou College, Fuaolo Apevai Mataafa, said the school is looking forward to returning to the Zone D athletics meet today after four long years on the sidelines.
The school had previously made the difficult decision to withdraw from the athletics contest because of its focus on rugby sevens.
“[The] last year we completed [in the zone athletics] was 2015 it was the year when we were invited by the Wallis and Futuna rugby union to send over an under 17 sevens boys team,” she said.
Many of the schools best athletes in the intermediate division are also members of the rugby sevens team and so could not participate in concurrent track and field events, weakening their contingent significantly.
But the Sports Master of Leulumoega Fou College, Saipani Papalii, told the Samoa Observer the teachers and principal saw how the passion and talent of students on display at recent inter-house athletics and felt the time was right to re-enter Zone D.
“The students' feedback [of] wanting to enjoy the athletic school competition has made the principal and teachers of the school to once again compete," he said.
"There [are still] many students who have the skills for the games.”
The Principal said the students have been preparing for the athletics for well over month, including during the Pacific Games.
“Everyone went out and trained despite the rain [all through July]," she said.
Saipani added that the drain on school talent meant they had previously made the difficult choice to forego athletics.
Saipani said the high cost of athletic equipment and a better future pathway for successful athletes (the school has produced several rugby stars, including one graduate currently on contract to play in Japan).
“Many of our students have breaks recorded but have nowhere else to go and developed their skills,” he added.
Leulumoega Fou College athletic squad has been training for two weeks now and the main focus of teachers is the fitness of the athletes who are taking the track event, the number of the team is about 86 students both track and field events.
“We have started last week on our training and we trainers focus on the fitness of our athletes and training our squad to find a spot at the Champion of Champions competition” the sports master said.
The under 17 boys' sevens team will still be travelling to Wallis and Futuna for a tournament away from home next week.
They will be going up against teams from Fiji, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and Tonga.
And the Samoa boys will be the only school team competing in the Wallis and Futuna Under 17 Sevens tournament; all other nations are fielding sides drawn from club competitions.
Twelve students from the school will travel to Wallis and Futuna from Monday.