Prime Minister proud of Team Samoa
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, is a proud Samoan.
And rightly so. On the last day of the 2019 XVI Pacific Games, Samoa's third place ranking on the medal tally with 37 as of last night, is proof that Samoa has the potential to match it with the biggest countries in the Pacific region.
Speaking to the media, Tuilaepa who is an athlete himself, said Team Samoa's performance is proof that the Government needs to invest more in developing local sporting talents.
“Overall I am proud of Team Samoa in all the 27 sports," he said. "Not only the athletes but also the coaches and everyone. As a nation we are proud of you.
“We have come a long way with the preparations of the XVI Pacific Games and Samoa surely, is proud. I also want to commend the Pacific Games Committee for their dedication and commitment to ensure we give it the best we can as a host country--- and we did it!
The Prime Minister also commended all the churches for their prayers.
“This is the first time, in the history of the Pacific Games we were able to provide a live feed for the Olympics channel," he said.
"It is a global feed and it is a milestone for Samoa, thanks to the Tui Samoa cable.
"The world’s eyes have been on Samoa from the tremendous opening ceremony and on the games since last week."
Tuilaepa also thanked the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Solamalemalo Sio, and his team for a job well done.
“As well as the volunteers, the village councils, the churches and their youth groups, schools, business community and the villages for the decorations around the country.”
For the sports, the Prime Minister was impressed with the swimming results.
“This is the first time we received gold in swimming at the Pacific Games. We scored four gold medals and also silver and bronze and that is something to be proud of,” said.
Tuilaepa also revealed the Chinese proposed Police Academy in Tafa’igata will have a stadium and there is also a proposal for Samoa to have its own Sports Academy around this vicinity.
The Prime Minister said the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti has been tasked to set aside a budget to assist with the development of the athletes.
“The New Caledonia and Tahiti athletes are sent to France for training and schooling purposes for these specific sports and as a result they secured numerous of gold medals making them the lead Island on the Pacific Games medal tally.
“And luckily for us, we have the facilities (thanks to China) the swimmers can use for training purposes,” said Tuilaepa.
The Prime Minister said the Samoan swimmers exceeded his expectations and their efforts are commendable.
For archery, Tuilaepa was equally impressed with the performance which resulted in two gold medals thanks to Mua’ausa Joseph Walter and his daughter Jil Walter. This is in addition to one silver and three bronze medals.
“We received six medals from archery yet the government did not invest any money in this sport. Yet the government has donated close to a million tala to rugby and the results are disappointing.”
He then turned to the Manu Samoa Sevens, which failed to beat third string Fiji team.
"It has to be said the Samoan managers on the team should have a strong sense of disciplining the seven players, don’t sugarcoat them. It is very simple; if the player is not performing well remove him from the team. They are an eye sore on the field, even catching the ball they can’t even do that.”
Tuilaepa further said they are an embarrassment to this country.
“They perform well overseas yet they cannot give a good performance in frot of our country,” said the Prime Minister.
He also pointed to the upcoming Pacific Nations Cup match against Tonga at Apia Park, next Saturday.
“To the (overseas based Manu Samoa) players, you listen carefully," he said, "this is your chance to give the country good results.
"You must play your heart out. It would be embarrassing for us if the Tongan players will defeat you on your own field.
"Next week is the game and these are the matches leading up to the Rugby World Cup. You better win this game. We also have games with Fiji and Wallabies coming up."