Login

Samoa hopes Sports Institute will boost Olympic chances

Samoa's sports minister is hoping plans for an Institute of Sport will help his country become the first Pacific Island nation to win gold at the Olympics.

Pacific nations left London without any medals, but Samoa is hoping to change that by the time of the Rio 2016 Games.

Magele Mauiliu Magele has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat he'll seek Cabinet approval to establish an Institute of Sport to train the country's best athletes.

"We anticipate a centre where top athletes can live together and train and be exposed to the theory and practice of sport - discipline, psychology and bio-mechanics and everything that makes a complete athlete," he said.

The only athlete to win an Olympic medal for a Pacific nation was Tongan boxer, who won the Super Heavyweight silver medal at the Atlanta Games in 1996.

In London, French Polynesian Anne-Caroline Graffe won a silver in Taekwondo, as a representative of France.

Mr Magele says boxing and taekwondo are some of the sports he thinks an institute should focus on.

"We want to target the sports where our strengths are," he said.

"We see boxing, weightlifting, taekwondo and judo and field sports in athletics - that's where we think we can excel."

He says despite a Pacific tradition of canoeing and sailing, Islanders still need professional help to take those skills to an Olympic level.

"Being natural is quite different from receiving scientific training, and we need to develop that strength as well," he said.

"We rely heavily on expertise of coaches from overseas for that. Although we have a history of sailing, that doesn't translate into success in sport."

Mr Magele says Australia's strong coaching and experience could play a key role, and he's already seen some support from Australia to help develop Samoan athletes.

"We lean towards Australia, we are motivated by their own experience," he said.



THE NEW COMMENTS PROCESS

To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: webmaster@samoanews.com

You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.