eroni leilua

Samoan sailor says cost of participation a barrier for Pasifika

Eroni Leilua, from Vaivasa-Uta in Upolu, will become the first sailor to represent Samoa at the Summer Games after qualifying at the world championships in Melbourne earlier this month, but he hopes he is not the last.

He said it was disappointing to think the potential of Pacific sailors was being restricted by financial obstacles.

"Money is difficult as it is but to get into a sport like sailing, it's pretty tough," he said.

"It's definitely been the biggest obstacle [for me] and especially being from a Pacific Island background."

Samoan sailor secures Olympic spot

Over the past weeks, Mr. Leilua had been striving for this spot and he has made Samoa proud of his performance and efforts.

The 26-years-old earned his place in Team Samoa at the Oceania Laser Championships in Melbourne last weekend.

In an interview with Loop Samoa correspondent Talaia Mika, Mr. Leilua said he aims to go forward in dominating that spot at the 2020 ICLA Standard World laser championships in Melbourne.

Leilua qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics

Leilua will now compete in Tokyo after finishing 32nd in the Bronze fleet (115th overall) at the World Laser Championship over the week-long competition that ended last Sunday at Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne.

The 26-year-old shared his excitement on his Instagram account, thanking everyone for the support.

“Laser Standard Worlds done and dusted here in Melbourne and it’s been a humbling experience to say the least. I’ve learnt a lot of and now know what I need to work on ober the next few months.”

Leilua aims to be the first Samoan sailor at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

One of the participants is Samoan sailor, Eroni Leilua.

He said competing in the qualifiers means a lot and now all his focus is on Tokyo 2020.

“It was a challenge and it’s pretty expensive. I was supported really well by my work and also by family friends. We ran fundraisers here and there just to cover the cost. It was difficult but also got some funding from Samoa Sailing Association and the Yacht Club, where I grew up sailing and that was special.”