Setefano brothers embrace wrestling

The Setefano brothers of Vailoa Faleata are hoping they can represent the country in the little known sport of wrestling.

Joshua, 19, and Timo, 16, are the sons of Setefano and Moanalisa Setefano and are big fans of former American wrestler-turned-Hollywood star Seiuli The Rock Dwayne Johnson.

They have been in the sport over the last three years under the tutelage of Japanese wrestling coach Gaku Akawaza, who coincidentally is also married to their aunt.

The brothers say Akawaza is helping them learn the skills and knowledge that they need to master wrestling. 

"When I was young I have always aimed to become a wrestler because I see many Samoans residing abroad all started with wrestling, for instance, Seiuli Dwayne Johnson,” says Joshua. “I was inspired by him and I see how motivated he is during his training sessions and everything.

"That's how I know that wrestling does exist, and it's where I was motivated to become one. And then Gaku came to our home because he married my aunt and told us about wrestling and that's how we joined the team.”

His younger brother, Timo, nodded in agreement that Seiuli was indeed their inspiration behind joining the Samoan wrestling team that is coached by Akawaza.

Joshua went further and suggested that the youth in Samoa should use their talent in sports to make Samoa proud, rather than creating social challenges such as violence.

"I want to challenge the youth that this is another way to keep yourself occupied and with our youth always making the wrong decisions," he emphasised.

“I want to use wrestling to send out the message to them that there is so much hope for them in the future. I've learned so much from wrestling, the harder you train the more you get.”

Timo said he also admires the work ethic of  Samoa Wrestling Association and SWA Samoa Weightlifting president, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork.

"My hope for the future is to become the best sportsman. I also want to be like Jerry Wallwork, he used to play wrestling and has won many gold medals. I want to be a coach and have my own team like him," he said.

Looking back on their progress in the sport, Timo and Joshua said wrestling is tough but they are now used to the pain and suffering, and they both urged their peers to forgo violence and embrace sports. 

Joshua said: "It's been 3 years since we both came to wrestling, from the beginning of our journey, it was really tough trying to get up and come to training, but as time passes by everything has fallen into place. 

“The only thing that sometimes gets in the way are some family commitments but it never takes away that urging feeling of wanting to train every now and then.

"If you are fighting because you are showing off then I'm telling you're just embarrassing yourself, but if you are fighting for a purpose, it can help you and your families have a better life.”

According to Joshua, he always keeps his coach's advice in his head, and he believes it is what keeps him going.

"Most of the time, our coach always tells us ‘the more you attack, the more chance you will succeed’. Always aim high and keep hoping but never ever give up," he added.

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