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

Two Pacific sailors are vying for the one and only qualifying Olympic spot for Oceania at the 2020 ICLA Standard World laser championships in Melbourne.

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.”

“Have not done the World’s for a while, the last one I’ve done when I was 17. It’s been a while. But I’ll take each day as it comes,” said Leilua.

The Olympics qualification will be a bonus achievement after the 26-year-old sailor came fourth at the Pacific Games.

“I’ve done a few of nationals and New Zealand competitions, couple of Oceanias and from Youth Worlds and then I gave it a rest for a bit and got back to it and last year, entered the Pacific Games,” he said in an interview with ABC.

Leilua is grateful to his mother for introducing him to the sport at such a young age. 

 “Growing up in Samoa, Mum took us down to the local sailing club and we gave it a go. She had an upbringing of Sailing, and so, we kinda thought we might enjoy it. And we did.”

The eight-day ICLA Standard World laser championships end on Sunday.