A special welcoming ceremony was hosted yesterday afternoon by the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C.) for the athletes who recently competed in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier this month.
Team Samoa ranked 17th out of 71 Commonwealth countries that participated and finishes at the top for the Pacific region claiming two gold, and three silver medals.
S.A.S.N.O.C. General Secretary, Pauga Talalelei Pauga greeted and introduced all the distinguished guests, team managements, players and officials in the ceremony.
It was then followed by a keynote address delivered by the Acting Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, who congratulated the athletes and officials for their achievement.
“I would like to congratulate the whole team who travelled and represented Samoa at this level of competition, as well as team officials and the management,” Fiame said.
“There’s always the participants and also us here the supporters while you guys are out there fighting the battle against other strong nations.
“I have also read through news reports regarding the achievement some of you have achieved, winning medals such as gold medals, I want to congratulate all the hard work and your preparations.
“I know our country is a small nation but your achievements have lifted our nation through sports.
“So I want to thank the Lord almighty for the talent he has blessed you with, not only representing Samoa, but also exposing our small nation to the whole world.”
Fiame also congratulated and acknowledged on behalf of the Samoa Government, the work of the S.A.S.N.O.C. in developing sports throughout Samoa.
She said she understood all the challenges faced by sports development in Samoa because she was once the Minister for Education, Sports and Culture.
Fiame also confirmed the Totalisator (betting) Agency Board is responsible for the payment of athletes who have earned high achievements, and the Government has already considered the reward based on the level of competition they compete in such as Commonwealth Games.
“The Government has already agreed for the gold medalists sports, through their administration, to make contacts with the Totalisator (betting) Agency Board for their payments not only for their athletes, but also coach.”
S.A.S.N.O.C. President, Fepulea'i Patrick Fepulea’i also congratulated Team Samoa especially the four medalist winners present at the ceremony.
The medalists were weightlifting gold medalists, Feagaiga Stowers and Sanele Mao, and silver medalists Ato Plodzicki Faoagali and Don Opeloge.
Samoa’s Super Heavy Weight Lauititi Lui, was not able to attend the ceremony because he is still in Australia where he had undergone a knee surgery.
He is due to arrive back home next month.