ASWA preping for upcoming Oceania championships
The American Samoa Weightlifting Association (ASWA) is doing its best to prepare its team for the upcoming 2014 Oceania and South Pacific Senior, Junior & Youth Championship scheduled for New Caledonia this year, with training squads that include some new lifters, who are all young women wanting to prove themselves in the sport.
The Oceania tournament will be held in Mont Dore, New Caledonia, May 25- 31, 2014, and is a qualifier for the Continental Olympic Youth to be held in China in August, 2014.
The competition is divided into three groups— the Pacific competition; the Oceania competition, and the Senior, Junior & Youth Championship competition, according to the press release from the Oceania Weightlifting Federation (OWF) website.
Speaking to Samoa News, the team’s coach and trainer, Lopesi Fa’agu said he is comfortable with the performance by our local lifters, who are in their training squads, and he’s hoping the team will bring home medals for American Samoa.
“This upcoming Oceania tournament is really important to us. If our team does good by earning gold medals from this tournament, they will then qualify to compete in the Continental Olympic Youth in China this year. We’re doing our best to train these youth and we want to encourage them to be honest in their training and keep up with the good work,” said Fa’agu, a former lifter for American Samoa.
Fa’agu highlighted one of the recent developments in the sport locally.
He noted that many years ago, only men showed interest in this sport, and they were the only ones representing American Samoa in past weightlifting tournaments, but that is no longer the case.
Last year, he said, two young women came forward and wanted to join this sport, and they were part of the team that competed at the 2013 Australia Youth Olympic Festival, where one of them won medals for American Samoa.
Tempo Fuimaono won silver and bronze medals for the territory, and she’s also a part of the squad for New Caledonia this year.
“There are five young women in our training squads for New Caledonia this year, and we’ve been working together with them for the last five weeks. I saw the desire in their hearts — that they wanted to do better and wanted to learn more about this sport, and from my own point of view, not only do they have the skills but they also have the strength to do the job,” Fa’agu stated.
One of the new young women on the team is Chu Kim, who attends the Manumalo Baptist School at Level 8 — she is now competing in the 69kg division.
“She’s one of the young stars in our team, even though she’s new to the sport… she picks up so fast during our training sessions and she never wants to give up until we’re done with our lesson each training session,” said the team’s trainer-coach.
“She’s strong and she has a good future in the sport, and if she continues on with her training, I hope she will be one of our gold medalists in New Caledonia,” said Fa’agu.
All the young women are competing in the Youth Competition, while the men are competing in the Senior & Junior divisions.
One of the new stars for the men’s division is Malaki Sitagata, a new lifter, who is competing in the 105kg division.
“Sitagata is a new lifter who is showing a lot of skills in this sport — his strength and power will help to win a medal for our team, if he’s focused on his training and never gives up,” said Faagu.
Other members of the training squad include veteran lifters, such as Apineru Apineru, who is competing in the 105+ kg for the senior division; Tanumafili Jungblut at the 94kg division, and Ah Su in the 83kg division.
“Our main focus for the Oceania tournament within the next two months is to win a spot to compete at the Youth Olympics in China, so that we can built a good future for these young lifters of American Samoa,” he said.