Ceremony wows Team AS
Ashgabat, TURKMENISTAN — For two and a half hours team American Samoa sat totally enthralled by the music, lights, costumes, 7,500 performers on stage and in the air, 65 horses, 34 camels, and one dog as the telling of Turkmenistans story opened the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in the most fantastic way imaginable.
“Wow”, was the most common comment when our athletes were asked for a response after the opening ceremony.
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Before the ceremony, while getting ready to line up with other nations for the Athletes’ parade into the stadium, the American Samoa contingent was bombarded with requests for photo opportunities with members of not only other Oceania delegations, which are housed together with the American Samoa team, but other nations as the team walked towards the line up area.
Our team “Manaia” Iafeta Vou who was dressed up in a cultural outfit of Siapo, ula nifo, fusi and sei fulumoa, with Samoan oil glistening off his body was stopped every few steps by athletes and volunteers, male and female, wanting to take a photo with him. The bright pink and black Elei uniform worn by the American Samoa Delegations was also a showstopper.
Daniel Heleta Misaalefua was American Samoa’s flag bearer.
Team AS was proud and humbled by the interest and response they attracted.
“This is even better than the response I got when I did the same thing at the Asian Youth Games in China” Vou exclaimed. He was all smiles as he posed for photo after photo.
“It was an honor getting a photo with the refugee athletes who are also competing at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat! We were proud to get a lot of country reps smiling as we wore our colors and traditional wear with awesomeness,” said American Samoa wrestler, Zena Iese.
Team American Samoa will start competition Tuesday Sept, 19, with American Samoan sprinter Isaac Silafau competing in the 60m. Silafau competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the men’s 100m race. The rest of American Samoa’s Athletes who are part of the wrestling team will start competition Sunday September 24.