High flying sports women feature in Marist International Sports Week
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 08 FEBRUARY 2018: When the Marist International Sports Week begins today with the sport of netball, a key theme the organising committee have quietly woven into the event will begin to emerge – promoting gender equity through sport.
Sport is a powerful catalyst in promoting gender equity. Women in sport defy stereotypes, make inspiring role models, and show men and women as equals.
The calibre and high proportion of female athletes and officials set to participate at the annual event will provide a wide range of inspiring role models and have men and women standing side by side.
Rugby and boxing are both sports where female pioneers are pushing the boundaries of their respective codes. This year, the Marist Sevens competition and Fight for Marist events will showcase a range of Samoan athletes and officials at the top of their game.
The imminent arrival of the Auckland Samoa Womens Rugby Team boasts a roster of provincial and national representatives including Black Fern flanker and captain, Seiuli Fiao’o Fa’amausili, and former Black Ferns player Justine Lavea.
Regarded as one of the world’s leading hookers and most successful captains, Seiuli has chalked up many accolades. She is the first Black Fern to reach 50 test caps, the only woman to play 5 rugby world cups, and the first woman to play 100 games for Auckland.
Last year was a busy one for the Auckland Police detective, captaining the Black Ferns to World Cup victory and collecting the prizes for World Rugby and NZRU’s Team of the Year. On top of these feats, the NZRU have also announced that this years MVP award will carry her name and rounding off a successful 2017 campaign.
Joining Fa’amausili on tour is Justine Lavea who will captain the Auckland Samoa Womens side. A seasoned Black Ferns campaigner, Lavea is one of a very small group of Black Ferns to have played over 30 tests in the black jersey. Her sister, Vania Lavea-Wolfgram also a former Black Fern, is coaching the Auckland Samoa side and is currently the National Development Officer for the New Zealand Rugby Union.
Also part of the stellar team is young Hastings Leiataua. An Auckland provincial player, Leiataua has only recently returned from a contract playing for Chiba Pegasus Club in Tokyo.
Fight for Marist spectators will get to witness female power with New Zealand-based boxer, Fa’asau Loia, as well as top amateur boxing official Ina Parkinson.
Parkinson is part of a large contingent of officials this year and is joined by Kiri Martin, Justyne Matangi-Lui, Tina Kore and Caitlin Kimpton, all New Zealand touch officials overseeing the Marist Touch Tournament.
The participation of New Zealand based officials and athletes this year has been due to the partnership between the New Zealand High Commission and Marist St Joseph’s Sports Club.
“This is a great opportunity for New Zealand to contribute to the development and promotion of sports at a local level,” said HE David Nicholson, New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa.
“Our support really focuses on having high quality officials at the tournament for the benefit of the players, the spectators, and for those responsible for the administration of the various codes being played across the week.
“We are also pleased to see the week incorporate a broad sports programme with a high proportion of female sports people,” he said.