Samoa counting down to first medals

The Chair of the 2019 Pacific Games Organising Committee believes Samoa's first medals are not far away.

 The Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, Loua Keneti Sio, presented gold medals to Tahiti and New Caledonia on Monday at the open water swimming in Mulifanua.

Samoa came up just short with a fourth placed finish in both the men's and women's events but Loau is confident the hosts will be on the Games medal table soon.

"There are a few sports that we are definitely expecting some medals from - especially the weightlifting and also the boxing and some of the sports athletes as well at the athletics, but definitely we were still hoping for some medals with the canoeing over here (in Mulifanua)."

Loau Keneti Sio was pleased the weather in Apia played ball during the opening ceremony and the first medals event in Mulifanua.

After little over a year's preparation, the Chair of the Games Organising Committee said it's great to see the event underway and everyone enjoying the competition in Apia.

"It's a big task for us to deliver in a way that's only 15/16 months to prepare for it but gold almighty has given us the guidance so that we can prepare for the Games and will be able to deliver," Loau said.

He said he's also looking forward to watching the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, compete in archery, which gets underway on Tuesday morning at Faleata Sports Field.

"There will be a lot of supporters going down there as he is the Prime Minister of our country and I'm pretty sure there will be a huge crowd there to see him playing his sports," he said.

The Minister for Education, Sport and Culture admits there's been a bit of friendly banter around the cabinet table with the Prime Minister, who won a silver medal when Samoa last hosted the Pacific Games.

"Definitely we are sort of joking around and telling him off sometimes and giving him advice and hopefully he will come up with a medal but remember he had a medal in 2007 - that was 12 years ago and hopefully he can deliver again," Loau said.

A former Manu Samoa rugby international, Loau said he was also looking forward to seeing the Manu Sevens team compete on home soil later this week.