Olympic hopeful proud to fly Samoan flag
Judoka, Peniamina Percival, is proud to be representing Samoa against the best athletes in the world, as he tours European competitions in a bid to qualify for the Olympics.
The 25-year-old from Tiapapata has been following the International Judo Federation I.J.F. circuit since January, competing at the Tel Aviv Grand Prix in Israel and the Paris Grand Slam in France.
Percival and fellow Samoan judoka William Tai Tin will compete at the Dusseldorf Grand Slam in Germany this weekend, before heading to Poland for the Warsaw European Open the week after.
“Will and I are trying our best to do our Samoa proud, competing against the powerhouses of judo,” he said.
“And we're having an amazing journey at the same time.”
The pair are both aiming to get enough qualification points to reach the Tokyo Olympics in July.
“It’s everyone’s dream growing up, to be in the Olympics, the biggest thing in the world for sports pretty much,” Percival said.
But he said the journey in of itself has been awesome so far:
“Just being able to represent Samoa, and know that there’s so many other Samoans that love judo and would die for this opportunity to compete at this level. It’s a special feeling, and I’m so lucky to be able to do this and chase my dream.
“Anything is possible, I really want our adventures to encourage other Samoan athletes that they should just go for the opportunity, we can compete at the big international level.”
After winning a bronze medal at the Pacific Games in Samoa last July, Percival attended the World Championships in Japan, the Oceania Open in Perth, Australia, the Osaka Grand Slam in Japan and the Asian Open in Hong Kong to close out 2019.
“All these competitions, it’s been super amazing and really, really good experience,” he said.
“The world’s best are there, so it’s really, really tough but we learn so much.
“In the islands we don’t have any competitions really.