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Tuaopepe perseveres despite uncertainty

The uncertainty brought by the coronavirus pandemic and the State of Emergency lockdown has had an impact on everything.

Weightlifting's planning, especially when it comes to growing the sport among students and new athletes, has had to take the back seat while the Samoa Weightlifting Federation looks to the Government for guidance in terms of what will happen next. 

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation and national coach, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork, said the pandemic has had a huge impact on their plans.

"We are looking at doing local competitions, inter-schools but it's still uncertain," Tuaopepe said. 

"For our locals we don't know when the Government will declare another S.O.E. and for our schools, we are giving them time to catch up because they will need eight weeks to prepare for any tournaments."

But the coronavirus has not stopped the sport on its track.

"We also have our online competition at the moment, where the use of video calling and footages is acquired," he said. 

"We match-up with different countries every week, and we get the results within the week. How it is done is, we take videos and send it over to the Oceania weightlifting federation and same with our opponent, and they (O.W.F.) will select the winner based on the videos."

As of now, two Samoan weightlifters have officially qualified for 2021 Oceania Championship, and two are awaiting a competition to reach the points they need in order to qualify.

"Don Opeloge and Nevo Ioane are the ones who have officially qualified for 2021 Oceania, and the other two are yet to make it but they are on top. As of now, with our online competition, Samoa is leading that competition. We are still training during the morning hours and evenings every day."

The inter-school competition is likely to be held in late August or early September.

Weightlifting has gained a massive following in schools with more than a hundred students already signed up.

"We have 120 students, but from that number only 40 are full-timers and some they either come and leave, or they just come in for a period of time," he said.

He also announced that Don Opeloge is ranked third in the World for weightlifting, so he believes that Opeloge has a better chance of winning a medal or a gold medal in Oceania.

He added that some of the athletes in training have broken world records but its just too bad that borders are closed everywhere due to the pandemic and most international competitions now face an uncertain future.



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