Athletes take home medals and magical memories
The National Games ended in Apia on Friday with a colourful closing ceremony that included a parade of athletes and dance item from every team. Exactly one week after the games were officially opened by His Honorable Prime Minister the athletes said goodbye to their new friends for another year.
The athletes were welcomed home by their families and friends as champions regardless of the outcome their placing in the events. ACEO-Sports Division of MESC Luatua Seumanutafa Semi Epati presented every athlete with a certificate of participation and photo of their team in uniform. These photos now hold pride of place along with medals in the athletes homes.
Atilua Sa’e of Senese was part of the team that won gold in the Cricket competition and bronze in the Soccer competition. He also finished with a Silver medal in Shot Put. “It was ofoofogia (Outstanding),” he said. When asked to pick is highlights, he said: “The opening ceremony, the parade, my medal ceremonies and the movie night at the Apollo cinema.”
Two years on from the last National Games, the shift up in the standard of competition was obvious to those watching the games. CEO of Special Olympics Samoa, Tusitina Nu’uvali said “The technical and tactical abilities on display was a tribute to the hours of coaching and training provided by our unemployed volunteer coaches around the islands in the grassroot level. This has given us confidence unemployed youth program is a successful initiative.”
The week long celebrations made headlines across the country and the National Games provided all Samoans with a reminder to focus on the abilities that they have been gifted regardless of the barriers and hurdles that they may face physically, mentally or socially.
With the memories of the National Games fresh in the minds of the coaches, the SO Samoa selection panel will sit to select the team to travel to the 2015 Los Angeles World Games. Samoa has been granted a 20 athlete team across three disciplines Bocce, Athletics and Football.