Athletes should be identified from the Primary level


Leifiifi College and Faleata College on the match

By Natu Samuelu Tafunai

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 30 AUGUST 2017: Sport coaches should be able to identify the potential of an athlete at the primary level, and not wait for the secondary and tertiary level to hand pick athletes.

This was the message delivered by the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) Loau Keneti Sio, during the opening of the inaugural Inter-Schools Weightlifting Championship 2017 at the Tuana’imato sports complex today.

Loau said if the sporting system continues to wait until adulthood to identify their sporting potential, it would be too late.

He told Talamua Media that the perfect time to capture sporting talent is at the primary level, and he acknowledged MESC for spearheading sports programs within the education curriculum.

This is the first time weightlifting has been included in the program which started last year with the introduction of boxing in school sport events.

This will be a two day competition with eight colleges competing in Weightlifting and Boxing.

“Talents are the most significant part in a person’s life, and the aim of the program is to capture these young talents, nurture and train them and set them off to a bright future,” said Loau.

He said there is a lot of local talent in weightlifting; unfortunately, there are parents who do not allow their daughters to lift bars.

June Faaeleele, Yr 10 student of Papauta Girls College

“As soon as parents see their daughter lifting bars, they immediately discourage them saying that’s a sport for males only.”

“Parents should be the first in line to encourage their children to showcase their sporting gifts, including weightlifting,” said Loau.

To boost the profile of weightlifting, MESC has employed Samoa’s golden girl of weightlifting, and Olympic silver medalist, Ele Opeloge as one of their sports ambassadors.

Head of the MESC Sports division, Luatua Seumanutafa Semi Epati, said the weightlifting program has been introduced to various schools in the past five months, and MESC is collaborating with the Samoa Association Sports and National Olympic Committee (SASNOC) in coordinating the two days competition.

The schools competing in the championships are: Samoa College, Avele College, St. Josephs College, Leififi College, Faleata College, Papauta Girls College, Wesley College, and A’ana College.