Falaniko Tauta qualifies for 2018 Youth Olympic Games

ausage@samoanews.com

The American Samoa Amateur Boxing Association (ASABA) is sharing some good news for the community, when one of their two local boxers that competed in the International Training Competition in Australia last week, Falaniko Tauta, qualified for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, October 6- 18.

ASABA vice president Okesene Malala who took the two fighters to Australia is the first American Samoan to received a 1-Star Coach Certificate from the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA).

American Samoa amateur rising star Tauta qualified for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, after an outstanding performance during the International Training Competition held in Australia last week, where two of our local fighters — Taua and Jeffrey Tago — took part in this training.

In a brief interview with President of the American Samoa Amateur Boxing Association (ASABA) Paepaetele Mapu Jamias this week, he confirmed the good news for American Samoa especially to the family of young fighter Tauta.

“The good news for us is that Tauta is now qualified for the Youth Olympics in Argentina next year. I know it’s a hard path but I salute him for his great effort. The road to the Olympics is not an easy one. An athlete must first prove that he/ she can do the job, and after some tough training and sacrificing more time of his life to this sport, Tauta is making his way to the next level and I’m so proud of him,” said Paepaetele.

He added, “This is also good news for us when Malala received his 1-Star Coach Certificate in Australia last week, and this is what we want, we need certified coaches with great experience to help us to move forward with our training, and also promoting the sport in American Samoa.”

ASABA head coach Sala Sanele Etuale was a happy man when he heard the good news about Tauta and Malala from their president.

“I can’t express the joy I feel when I heard that Tauta achieved his goals as a boxer, while Malala achieve his dream as a coach. I am so very proud of them and I can’t wait to see them today,” said Sala with tears in his eyes.

According to Sala, Tauta started in boxing when he was in elementary school. He began competing at 12 years old with the support of his family, and continued to box until he was considered one of their best local elite fighters last year.

Last year, Tauta was part of the 10-man squad from American Samoa invited to compete in the Samoa Games Boxing International Championship in Samoa, where he won his first gold medal in the middleweight division.

Building up his talents and his skills, Tauta continued to prove himself in boxing, when he again won his second gold medal during the Oceania Boxing Championship in Samoa in February, which gave him and Tago the chance to be a part of the International Training Competition in Australia this month.

“Boxing is tough, but if Tauta does his homework, trains hard and is ready at anytime, then I know for sure that he will do good next year, and I wish him luck,” concluded Sala.

While not qualifying for the YOG 2018, Tago will be competing in the 2017 Pacific Mini Games, and hopefully continuing his road to a successful career in boxing, with the 2020 Olympic Games on the table.

The team will be arriving this morning at the Pago Pago International Airport at 10am.

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