American Samoa crosses pond for Toa Games
A team from American Samoa has been making the annual trip to Samoa for the past three years for the annual Toa Games.
Among the 16 teams that competed in the 2019 Toa Games held at Vaitele, only one came from off-island: 'Funk Fit' from American Samoa.
The team's coach, Claude Young, said participating is everything for the team and they like to support each other in the CrossFit community.
"We like to push each other and this is what it’s all about," Young said.
"It’s about the community and we came here to support these guys and hopefully, one day in the future when we have our own competition on the other side of the pond, we can invite them and they can come over," added the 35-year-old.
The team have their own 'box' in American Samoa, currently being operated in a garage and they are working towards expanding it like the CrossFit Fatu Toa gym in Samoa.
"Basically that’s how these guys started out, in the garage so that’s what we’re doing right now," he said.
"We’re trying to grow it organically and hopefully some day in the future we’ll have our own box and have one of these competitions as well."
Mr. Young told the Samoa Observer that CrossFit is not a popular sport in American Samoa, but they are working on spreading the word.
"I was in the military for ten years and came back in 2015, and that’s when I brought the sport of CrossFit over, from the military side," he said.
"[I] started with the reserves and [am] still with the reserves side right now of the army and so we are working towards getting our own spot and hopefully we can grow that popularity and bring it to the schools and more communities," said Mr. Young.
He said the number of members of the Fatutoa gym in Samoa is impressive, saying this is the most number of teams they have seen since they joined the competitions three years ago.
"This is a good number of people; it’s great, I love seeing people coming out and participating and bettering themselves so that’s what I’m all about," he said.
"I’m all about pushing everybody and bettering themselves at least one day at a time."
The American Samoa team were ranked seventh overall in Saturday's Games.
"Everybody wants to compete now and I wanted to bring some of our new guys because most of them are still pretty brand new to CrossFit," said Mr. Young.
"I wanted to bring them over here so they can see what it’s like to be a competitor and hopefully that’ll push them more to try to compete again and get better next year."
He thanked the Fatutoa CrossFit Gym for welcoming the team and keeping an invitation open for them each year.
"We were here a couple of months ago in March for an athlete’s camp and they welcomed us with open arms," Mr. Young said.
"And I would like to continue to support them in whatever they do and hopefully they’ll do the same for us."