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A win for Sports Tourism — three Oceania Wrestling events begin today at Fale Laumei

The best wrestlers in the territory will be putting it all on the line this week as American Samoa will be hosting the 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Oceania Qualifying Tournament and the 2014 Oceania Continental Wrestling Championships. It all starts today at 9:00 a.m. at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium, where wrestlers from 12 island nations will attend opening day.


Australia, New Zealand, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga and American Samoa are in the lineup for these events, the first time they have ever been held here.


One of the driving forces behind this historic event to be held in the territory is Ethan Lake, who is the president of the American Samoa Amateur Wrestling Association (ASAWA) as well as the Department of Youth and Women Affairs (DYWA) Sports Commissioner.


One of the main goals of this administration, according to Lake, is to promote sports and economic development. He stated as Sports Commissioner, one of the ways to do this is to develop Sports Tourism in the territory.


“This is really big and we are making history. This is the first time that we have the Oceania Wrestling Championships here in American Samoa,” said Lake. He stated that he had a lot of help from the government and the willingness from each department was overwhelming.


Lake also stated that he hopes to host more international sports events here in the territory making American Samoa a real hot bed for both training and elite sporting events. He said that Sadie’s by the Sea, Sadie Thompson Inn and the TradeWinds Hotel are packed, bringing in money for the territory.


“The fact …with what I learned, doing this with the help of a lot people…The next big sports event that we will host will be a little easier because I will have a lot more knowledge and with the president of whatever sport we will be hosting, we will be able to work together a lot easier,” he said.


Lake added that the main word that the governor has stated many times is — collaboration.  “We have to break down these walls people have put up over the years, especially in sports. In fact that goes for anything. They are there and we have to bring them down and be willing to work together,” he said. “The governor is reaching and doing all that he can. Our department the DYWA is reaching out and doing all that we can.


“The DYWA has a single word in what we are trying to do and that word is ‘Empowerment.’ Empowerment with Youth, with Women and with Sports. To help them do it themselves, but we have to be there to assist,” the Sports Commissioner said. “I want to thank everyone that had a helping hand in making this possible."


Lake invites the public out to witness the championships that will begin today and run through Saturday. Today will be the YOG along with the medal rounds. Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m will be Greco Roman and at 11:00 a.m. will be Women’s Free-Style.


Friday at 10:00 a.m. is Men’s Free-Style and on Saturday will be Beach Wrestling along with the closing of the championships.