Follow your dreams: Elia Tuumatavai
Emerging Manu Samoa Sevens star Elia Tuumatavai is encouraging aspiring young players to dream big and put in hard work if they want to realise their ambitions.
The 21-year-old from Faleula, Gatavai and Matavai Safune, is one of the 24-men training squad for the Manu Samoa Sevens team.
“When I was young, I always wanted to experience what it is like to be on a plane," he said.
“I dreamt of going on a plane one day, I envied people who had that opportunity."
Rugby opened doors and a new world of possibilities for the young player.
"Rugby took to me to higher heights,” he said.
Elia is a Gold Medalist from the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas, where he represented Samoa in the Rugby Sevens.
“That is the power of sport; it opens up different avenues for an ordinary kid with a dream to make it on the plane," he said.
“Dream big because I am that testament. I traveled again in 2018 and 2019. Rugby was my ticket.
“All I had in my hands was a gift and dreams, God did the rest for me."
As one of the youngest players in the national squad, Tuumatavai said his recent selection was humbling.
“There have been many coaches and mentors I have come across," he said.
“It was with their advice that I am here today."
He acknowledged the Marist Club for helping his rise from humble beginnings to achieving big dreams.
“The Marist Club has shaped me a lot, in terms of improving my skills," Tuumatavai said.
“I wasn’t a great player but I have managed to achieve much more than expected.
“I joined Marist in 2017; it was the same year I was able to get exposure representing Samoa in the Bahamas.”
The rugby player said he was excited about the 33rd Vailima Marist Sevens Tournament coming up, describing the annual tournament as an “eye-opening experience for most players.”
Reflecting on his journey so far, Tuumatavai said the challenges and roadblocks he faced along the way have only served to make him stronger.
“I know this much, nobody else will do it for you. You have to get it yourself,” he said.
“Don’t give up easily because it is never easy.
“There are challenges in being disciplined and focused during training.
“But don’t ever give in and tap out.”
Tuumatavai encouraged the young players of Samoa to find a Sports Club and develop their skillset.
“I strongly advise most of you to find a sports club to represent and give it your all," he said.
“Consistency will take you to all places in the world."