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ASTFA team returns with ‘malo lava’ to first time competitors

jeff@samoanews.com
The American Samoa Track and Field/Athletics Team that recently competed in Oceania competition in Papeete, Tahiti. (L-R) Sauniatu West, Johnson Tuiletufuga, Alexarae Toeina, Coach Valusia Talataina, Faresa Kapisi and Charles Uhrle. Oceania officials were favorably impressed with the performance of the American Samoa time as first time contenders. [courtesy photo]

The American Samoa Track and Field/Athletic (ASTFA) Team recently returned from the Oceania competition held in Papeete, Tahiti on June 9, where 22 island nations were represented including Australia and New Zealand.
 
“Despite the lack of training here in American Samoa, especially the track at the stadium, our athletes performed well in Tahiti, as they did their best,” said Coach of the ASTFA Valusia Talataina.
 
“Three of our local high school athletes competed in running events. Faresa Kapisi and Sauniatu West both competed in the 100 meter and 200 meter runs for the 18 and under age bracket. Faresa made it to the finals for the 100 meters and placed 4th overall. He took 3rd place,” explained Talataina. Sauniatu did not make the finals but placed 6th overall in the 100 meters and the 200 meters. Johnson Tuiletufuga ran the 400 meter but did not place.
 
“I was very pleased with the performance of these first-time athletes, considering they have never ran on a real track with real track shoes until they went to Tahiti,” he said.
 
Charles Uhrle who competed in the Open Division (18 & above), placed 2nd in his heat for the 100 meters and was able to advance to the finals. But according to Talataina, because the time for the 100 meter finals conflicted with his 800 meter running event, he was not able to advance in the 800 and placed 6th overall.
 
“Alexarae Toeina, our only female athlete competed in all field events. She did okay in the hammer throw and shot put. She was able to gain the Bronze in the discus throw. The Oceania Game Executives were very pleased with the performance of our athletes, especially the boys, as they were first time international competitors,” he explained.
 
Faresa Kapisi and Charles Uhrle will travel again to compete in the World Championships and the World International University competition, according to Talataina. Uhrle will be departing the territory tonight.
 
Female tennis player Litia Godinet will also be departing tonight — heading to the World International University competition in Russia.
 
“I would like to thank Toleafoa Henry Tavake, Mina Uhrle, Melila Purcell and Don and Deanna Fuimaono for their kind and generous help and the host families in Apia and New Zealand on our way to and from the Oceania competition,” said Talataina.
 
There will be a track and field meet this morning at the Veterans Memorial Stadium hosted by the Ohana Running Club that is now under the umbrella of the newly formed American Samoa Track and Field Coalition. This meet is part of the summer training program put on by the club.
 



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