Part of Samoa’s Weightlifting Team for the Commonwealth Games in Australia next month
By Rula Su’a – Vaai
APIA SAMOA – MONDAY 26 MARCH 2018: Two weeks to the Commonwealth Games in Australia, the President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork still finds transgender competitors a thorn on the side.
“For all sports, transgender athletes are allowed by the International Olympic Committee to compete,” he told Talamua after the announcement last Friday of his team for the Commonwealth Games.
“For me personally, I do not agree, it is just not right.”
Tuaopepe added, he does not speak for other sports but for weightlifting it is unfair.
“Weightlifting is a sport where strength and contact requires, so allowing transgender to compete is not right.”
Last year, his female lifter Iuniara Sipaia who was contender for gold, lost to the transgender weightlifter from New Zealand.
“I stand firm on my protest against transgender issue, especially when this person who won gold medal has been lifting in the men’s category for more than 10 years, so his transformation from being a man to a woman does not necessarily change his masculinity of his muscles.”
The Samoa Weightlifting Federation joined other countries and lodged a protest letter to the International Olympic Committee and Tuaopepe still hopes they will reconsider their decision.
“It is something that needs to be taken to the highest level and we are working very closely with SASNOC in protest against the transgender issue.”
“It is very unfair,” said the Samoan female lifter Iuniara Sipaia who lost to New Zealand’s transgender athlete in last year’s competition.
Iuniara Sipaia still banned
Tuaopepe is also not very happy with the delay in the investigations into female weightlifter Iuniarra Sipaia for the use of a banned substance that she took through an injection.
“The ban has not been uplifted yet we are still waiting.”
The President is optimistic. “We are corresponding and I hope the answer is favourable, as we or Iuni have not done anything wrong. She was given the injection by the doctor, and the doctor said there was nothing wrong, we trusted him and he assured us there is nothing to be worried about.”
Tuaopepe further explained the ban substance was not on the banned list before, and they did not know it was banned.
When asked whether they should have a list of banned substances, he said whether they are given a list, they would not understand it.
“It takes a doctor or a pharmacist to understand it, because we have no idea or understand anything on it.”
The President applauds the combination of anti-doping and medical commission (SMADA) entities, so they will have more information on banned substances.
“I am hoping we will have training and have more awareness on anti-doping and the banned substances we should not use in sport.”