Two-Day Walkathon pushes the envelope

Pictured are wrestlers of the ASWA during the walk-a-thon yesterday morning in Atu’u, with the President of the association Ethan Lake, 2nd. from left bottom row. [photo: Jeff Hayner]

The American Samoa Wrestling Association (ASWA), held a Two Day End to End Walk-a-Thon, that took place this past Monday and Tuesday, to raise funds for the upcoming Oceania Wrestling Championships that will be taking place in Sydney, Australia from January 27-29.

Members of the ASWA, which were led by the President of the association Ethan Lake, began the Walk-a-Thon on Monday morning at 5:00 a.m. with a one-night stop over in Pago Pago.

“The Two Day End to End Walk-a-Thon started in Amanave on Monday morning and will end in Tula, in which our goal is to cross the whole island,” said Lake. “Unlike other walk-a-thons, which are much shorter, we decided to have this one cover the whole island, because we figured that since we are ‘wrestlers,’ and tougher than most, that we are going to take the bigger challenge.”

“We want to do this as an annual thing on the first of every year. It has several layers of accomplishments... one is the challenge itself, while the others are to fight obesity and be healthy. We are also doing this to help raise funds for the Oceania Wrestling Championships,” said Lake.

The walkers tallied around $2,000 from their efforts, but are still collecting funds, and Lake reported that the wrestlers were just arriving in Tula about 5 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

“The Oceania Wrestling Championships are the first step to the qualifiers in Africa and you have to go to this one in order to go to the qualifiers. Last time we had the Oceania Championships in Apia, Samoa which was very convenient and did not cost us a much money. But this trip of course, will cost a lot more. We are unable to take a large number this year, but we do have some good quality wrestlers that will be making this trip. All of the wrestlers have pitched in to help raise funds... even the ones that aren’t going have helped out.”

 “This walk, has been really good for the wrestlers... it has been a real bonding experience for them. About 80% to 90% of the people that we talked to and asked for help in donating, have donated. A lot of businesses have donated as well. We want to thank everyone for their support,” said Lake.

He went on to say— if there is any business out there that would be interested in supporting and sponsoring wrestling that they would be more than happy to accept any assistance.

“And… If there is any business or any individual that needs yard work or any physical activity done, let us know and we will get a bunch of our wrestlers together to get the job done. We are not looking for any free hand out, we are hard workers. You can contact us at asa@fila-wrestling.com or 770-1006,” concluded Lake.

In this Two-Day End to End Walk-a-Thon were two heavyweight wrestlers that at first glance, one might think that they would be on the football field instead of the wrestling mat. Eldon Finau and Onosai Pule are first year wrestlers and freshmen at Samoana High School, that have high hopes to make it big in this sport.

At 6’2 and weighing in at 320 lbs, Eldon Finau told Samoa News that he was determined to finish this walk. “We are doing this because we love this sport and are dedicated to it and want to make this trip to Australia,” said Finau. “We want to prove that American Samoa can produce great athletes, just like anyplace else that produces great athletes. We are doing this to show that we are ‘for real’ and are dedicated and that we are willing to do the hard work to show that this is what we are here to do.”

Also coming in at 6’2 but weighing in at a solid 265 lbs, Onosai Pule told Samoa, “This walk is not only good for us in losing weight and helping us get in shape, but it is also for a great cause. We are trying our best to earn our way to Australia by having fundraisers and earning everything that we get. This walk-a-thon is so far the most challenging. But I’m glad that I am here,” said Pule.

At the last Oceania Wrestling Championship, held in Apia, Samoa in February of last year, two American Samoa wrestlers, CJ Floor Jr. and Caleb Scanlan, earned their way to the 2011 Wrestling World Championships which were held September 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.


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