Samoa Triathlon Union receives donation on eve of Pacific Island Champs

By Thomas Airey ,

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Peter hedge, mike Webster vp of Samoa Triathlon Union, Seti Afoa, Sara Moriarty, Ben gathercole. Photo: Thomas Airey.

Peter hedge, mike Webster vp of Samoa Triathlon Union, Seti Afoa, Sara Moriarty, Ben gathercole. Photo: Thomas Airey.

The Samoa Triathlon Union received a donation of equipment from the World Triathlon Union and Triathlon Australia yesterday at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.

The donation comes before the Pacific Islands Championships are hosted here tomorrow.

The athletes competing will stay on for a camp with Australian Olympic coach Ben Gathercole next week.

Samoa Triathlon Union president Seti Afoa said the donation is the latest of many acts Australia have taken to support triathlon in Samoa down the years.

He noted the importance of having specialised clothing for triathlon, as it must be suited for each of the three disciplines.

Australian High Commissioner to Samoa Sara Moriarty said it’s just another example of the passion for sports shared between her country and the Pacific communities.

“I’m really pleased to be speaking at this gifting, because actually the Australian government has played very little role in this one.

“This is a sign of the strength of community collaboration which the government tries to foster.”

Oceania Triathlon Union president Peter Hedge said the Championship tomorrow is a very important event.

“People within the Samoa Triathlon Union have done a wonderful job developing the sport here.

“The development of the sport of triathlon in the Pacific Islands has been in place since it became an Olympic sport 18 years ago.

“I think you’ll find this is a perfect leadup to Samoa hosting the Pacific Games next year.”

Afoa agreed.

“The Oceania Triathlon Union voted unanimously to have it in Samoa in preparation for the Games,” he said.

Afoa said it will also be a good chance for Samoan triathletes to test themselves against the best in the region.

“We have some very exciting athletes here, particularly from Tahiti and a couple from Fiji.

About 12 Samoan athletes will be participating in the Pacific Islands Championship tomorrow.

“The winning time on the weekend will be around one hour eight minutes, our fastest is around one hour ten,” said Afoa.

“We are fairly hopeful of a top 5 result, but we’ll see how we stack up tomorrow.

He identified Raea Khan as Samoa’s current best performing triathlete, and one to watch.

“He’s competed for Samoa in swimming at Pacific and Commonwealth Games.”

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