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ELE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT OLYMPIC MEDAL CHANCE

PSYCHED UP: Ele Opeloge displays her physical and mental toughness. [Photo: Tv3]

The last time Samoa’s golden girl, Ele Opeloge stepped on an Olympic platform, she missed out on a bronze medal by one kilo.

That was Beijing, China, in 2008. “I still remember it like it was yesterday,” Ele told the Samoa Observer.

“I thought I had it but it just fell behind me. I was gutted and the memory stays with me.” Had Ele nailed the lift, she would have won the bronze medal by two kilos. In doing so, she would have made history as Samoa’s first Olympic medallist.

Alas she didn't. Four years later, the 27-year-old is returning to the Olympics with high hopes that she can nail the lift this time around.

Yesterday, Ele departed for London with her coach, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork and teammate, Toafitu Perive.

“I was very disappointed about what happened in Beijing,” she recalls. “In hindsight however, I had to accept that it was my first time. As a matter of fact, I never expected to get that far.

“This time I hope to do better and hopefully win a medal for Samoa.” Ele knows the expectations. She flew to London knowing that she is carrying the hopes of the nation.

“I know what is expected of me,” she says. “It’s the same thing I expect of myself but if I think too much about it, it will weigh me down.

“I have put my trust in the Lord and faith in my ability to deliver the results.” Ele’s preparations have not been ideal. First she suffered from a bout of Typhoid and then two weeks ago, she suffered chicken pox. But she is optimistic.

“I have fully recovered and have gotten my strength back. It was disappointing in that timing could not have been more off.” Despite all the setbacks, Ele says she is ready.



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