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Am. Samoa wrestlers set to hit the mat next week

Local wrestler Sealiitu Mauga [courtesy photo]
One of those wrestlers is Sealiitu Mauga

Team American Samoa has arrived in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan for the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games - a first for the territory.

Samoa News is providing coverage of the Games, sponsored by Carl's Jr.

Local wrestler Sealiitu Mauga, 19, is one of six local wrestlers who will be competing in various weight categories next week.

An employee of the American Samoa Government, Mauga is part of a local delegation that took part in the official opening ceremony for the Games, held yesterday.

The Games will feature 21 sporting events, with American Samoa set to compete in two - wrestling and track & field.

 A welcoming ceremony for the team was held last Friday. (See separate story for details).

The Games will extend until Sept. 27 and the first local athlete set to see action is track & field hopeful Isaac Silafau, who will compete in the 60M and the long jump today, Sept. 18, and Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Meanwhile, Mauga and the local wrestling team - which includes Daniel Misaalefua, Pita Fanolua, Zena Iese, Iafeta Jeff Vou, and Nolan Puletasi - are scheduled to hit the mat next week, Sept. 25-26.

The Games are being hosted in a multi-billion-dollar world class facility, the first of its kind in the Asia region. The environment, as well as the competition level at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, is likened to the World Olympic Games.

"It will undoubtedly provide Team American Samoa with a realistic Olympic-like experience," said the folks at the American Samoa National Olympic Committee (ASNOC).

All of the local National Sports Federations with sports competing in the Asian Indoor Games were given an opportunity to send athletes to these games; but it was wrestling and indoor athletics that had athletes ready to compete, according to ASNOC.

Samoa News will be providing continuous coverage of the