Cabinet approves $230,000 for Parker
Taxpayers will fork out $230,000 more to support Lupesoli’ai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Paker’s W.B.O. title defense against Hughie Fury in May.
This was confirmed by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi yesterday.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Tuilaepa said the amount to be given to Duco Events, following the negotiations last week, is the same as the last time.
The last time was last year when the government approved US$100,000 (T$230,000) through Invest Samoa, for the title bid.
Yesterday, Tuilaepa said the whole nation would be getting behind Lupesoli’ai, supporting him along the way.
“There is no doubt that the whole country will be supporting him hundred percent,” said the Prime Minister.
“The reason why he wins is because we are all praying for him.”
Tuilaepa also confirmed they had considered the option of hosting the title defense but have decided against it.
“It’s too soon,” he said.
“There are a lot of things we need to prepare for the fight, and we don’t have enough time. But we did look at that possibility.”
The government’s help for Lupesoliai Parker follows its flat rejection of a monetary reward for Samoa’s first Olympic medallist, Ele Opeloge, who was presented with her silver medal from the Beijing Olympics at the beginning of the week.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa said he is disappointed there was no official ceremony to present the first ever Olympic Medal for Samoa on the global stage.
On Tuesday, Tuilaepa criticised the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C) and the Samoa Weightlifting Federation for not doing anything to speed up the process.
Yesterday, Tuilaepa clarified why he said what he said.
“The main reason why I said what I said to S.A.S.N.O.C during the ceremony was because I didn’t like the way the medal was presented,” he said.
“Look it’s not funny and it was not nice. (E le mālie toe lē matagofie.) You see, this medal is from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
“And we finally received it after three Olympics.
“S.A.S.N.O.C and the Weightlifting Federation are the ones negotiating and talking to the people up there. They should’ve advised them to hurry up their process and have it sooner.
“They should’ve stood up and said something.”
Tuilaepa insisted the medal should have been presented at the Rio Olympics.
“They got the results of the tests before the Olympics in Rio. So they should’ve asked Ele to go to Rio, and push for a special ceremony to be held in Rio for Ele.
“This is so the whole world can see while we raise our flag and sing our national anthem at this international stage. That’s the way it should be.”
Tuilaepa went on to say that the way the medal was presented was discriminatory.
“If we look at how they sent the medal over to Samoa, there is some sort of discrimination in the way they did it.
“If they didn’t want an official ceremony to officially handover the medal, they should’ve sent someone or an official to come and officially hand over the medal to Ele.”
Manu Samoa and All Blacks
On a different note, Tuilaepa, who is also the Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, confirmed that the Manu Samoa would go head to head with the All Blacks in June this year.
The game will be held in New Zealand.
“The most important thing for me is that we get a chance to play,” said Tuilaepa.
“Why should I worry? I am not the one whose body is on the line playing on the field. The important thing is that we get a chance to play against the All Blacks.
“You know there is a saying that goes as practice makes perfect (fai fai a lelei).
“We will eventually beat the All Blacks one day.
“My only prayer is that I will live to see the day where we finally defeat the All Blacks, and I hope that I will still be the Chairman of the Union when that day comes.”