Sport for development underutilised
Re: Ensuring inclusive progress
Sport-for-development is a good initiative but it is underutilised.
Aside from boxing and rugby, there is a need for more focus on swimming as a sport.
It should be made compulsory in schools to learn how to swim. Lucrative scholarships in the US Colleges or Australia’s AIS for talented swimmers are available (I understand Australia has a sport-for-development agreement with Samoa).
Need to change attitudes about swimming as a sport with the missionary attitude really holding back development of the sport. Swimming, especially for an island nation in the middle of the ocean, is a life skill.
The Aquatic Centre in Tuanaimato should be packed day and night with kids learning to swim and from there a base for future swim stars can be developed to eventually find scholarships for them in the US universities or in Australia’s AIS. Unlike in rugby, these athletes will still be free to represent Samoa at the Pacific Games / Commonwealth Games / Olympics.
Tuanaimato has already produced Samoa’s first Olympic medal and a host of commonwealth medals. I see no reason why one day it cannot produce more medals for Samoa and financial rewards for the better athletes.