Samoa Weightlifting says medal deserves reward

The President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation says there is a big difference between winning an Olympic medal and success at the Commonwealth Games.

The Samoa government is facing pressure to provide a monetary reward for Ele Opeloge, who was awarded the silver medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics after two competitors were disqualified for drugs.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the government's policy was to only offer monetary awards for gold medal winners.

Ele and Niusila Opeloge and Faavae Faauliuli all won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi seven years ago.

The President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation, Tuaopepe Asiata Jerry Wallwork, was their coach.

"Back in 2010 in Delhi Commonwealth Games the government reward was 50,000 Tala for the gold medallists," he said.

"They got a good substantial amount and it's a Commonwealth Games. We're looking at the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics and there's a big difference there."

"There's a vast difference in the level of competition and the achievements and the totals that they're doing in the Commonwealth compared to the totals that they're doing at the Olympic Games," Tuaopepe said.

"So in order to win a medal at the Olympic Games and it is much much higher than a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games."

Tuaopepe said it's still hoped the ceremony to present Ele Opeloge with her silver medal will take place later this month.


Photo: RNZI Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia  Samoa's PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi