Samoan sailor celebrates his first Olympics
Making it to the Olympic Games is a dream come true for Samoan sailing athlete Eroni Leilua, and while he exits Tokyo without the result he wanted he leaves with a lot of positives.
For one, he mixed with the world’s best sailors and had fun competing in the Men’s Laser.
It was his first Olympic appearance and toughest challenge yet, he said, in a Facebook post published on Friday.
“First Olympics under the belt and it definitely lived up to being my toughest challenge yet,” Mr. Leilua wrote.
“Not quite the results I had hoped for but plenty of positives to take away from the event.”
Representing Samoa was a huge honour, said Mr. Leilua and he hopes he inspired the next generation of sailors.
But the sailing athlete says he wouldn't have made it to Tokyo without the support of his supporters.
“Mixing it with some of the best in the world was good fun and having the support base that I’ve had in Samoa, New Zealand and around the world made the whole experience a dream,” he said.
“It was a huge honour representing Samoa and I hope I’ve inspired the next generation of young sailors. Samoa sailing is in good hands and I know this is only the beginning.”
Mr. Leilua also extended his “special thanks” to the many people who made his Olympic dream possible: the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C.), Swire Shipping, National Bank of Samoa, Central Bank Of Samoa, SIFA, Ah Liki Wholesale, Bluebird Construction, the Electric Power Corporation, Samoa Frankie's Wholesale, Saleufi Nuzest New Zealand, Les Mills New Zealand, Les Mills in Takapuna, MG Marketing Raema von Reiche and the Apia Yacht Club Sailing Samoa.
And not forgetting his parents and the host nation of Japan for the hospitality.
“And to all those who supported my fundraisers, raffles and everything in between, I can’t express how appreciative I am of being here so thank you,” Mr. Leilua said.
“Time to enjoy my last few days in Japan and soak up this awesome event before a long awaited “off-season” and downtime with family, friends and wife. Arigato (thank you Japan).”