PM Tuilaepa hopes to compete in "Games" — again
Apia, SAMOA — Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi recently announced his intention to compete at this year’s Pacific Games in Apia.
The declaration might appear out of the ordinary, but the 74-year-old previously achieved the feat when Samoa last hosted the Games in 2007.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa was claimed to have taken up archery just five months prior to the Games.
"I thought it was a good opportunity to show to our young men and women that even the leaders are prepared to act to give examples,” Tuilaepa told the New Zealand Herald at the time. "The sport has special appeal for me because it does not make as much demand on my time compared with other sports.”
Tuilaepa unsurprisingly was the first elected leader of a country to participate in a multi-sport event.
He soon became the first to achieve a podium finish at a Games, after being part of the Samoa mixed recurve team which clinched a silver medal. His son was a reserve member of the team.
One can only hope a repeat performance is on the cards as the Games returns to Samoa’s capital in July, although the Prime Minister claiming he would not be able to walk into the team. Especially as there is a Tokyo 2020 team event spot up for grabs.
While there is a fairly regular stream of athletes-turned-politicians, Samoa’s Prime Minister’s status is probably safe for a while as the only elected leader to compete at a multi-sport event.