Samoan PM withdraws from archery at Pacific Games

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, 74, voluntarily withdrew from Friday's bronze medal event in archery mixed doubles compound category to allow his 17-year-old team mate to compete.

Mathew Tauiliili is the youngest member of Samoa’s archery team, and also the top male compound shooter in the team. He will play in the bronze medal decider with Tahiti at the Sports Fields, Faleata.

Samoa PM Tuilaepa in bronze medal contention

He will be competing in the Mixed Doubles Compound Category along with one of the youngest member of the Samoa archery team and bronze medallist Naifoua Vise Timai.

They will be taking on Tahiti for the bronze in Fridays’ finals.

And while the Prime Minister is reserving his predictions saying that he will do his talking on the field, 19- year old Timai is overly confident.

“To compete side by side with Samoa’s longest serving Prime Minister to represent Samoa? I don’t have the words to describe it,” said the Leulumoega Fou College graduate.

Samoa PM competes at Pacific Games

Tuilaepa is one of 15 archers in Team Samoa.

According to a report on Inside the Games, Tuilaepa scored 163 points including one bullseye at the end of the first round.

Tuilaepa is a Pacific Games bronze medalist in 2007.

Cecile Reuillard of New Caledonia leads the women's compound with 332 points, from Fiji's Lisa Noreen Leota on 304.

Two Australian women top the women's recurve standings,  Alice Ingley on 309 from Deonne Bridger on 301.

Samoan PM to compete in Pacific Games

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi made the team after trials during the weekend, which also doubled as a test event for Samoa 2019. He represented Samoa in 2007, the last time Samoa hosted the Pacific Games, where he won a silver medal. 

James Larven, the technical delegate for archery, highlighted the participation of the prime minister in representing the country.

"Not too many sports around the world would get the prime minister involved in the Games, which is very impressive. [It is] very rare for any country to have the prime minister involved," Larven said.

Samoa PM Tuilaepa eyes Pacific Games gold medal

But first things first.

He realises that he has to earn a spot in the Samoa Archery Team to compete in the Games, first.

“I am not a walk in,” he said during practise Saturday afternoon at his residence. “There is no preferential treatment here and I am treated like any other competitor.

“Earning the right to represent your country at any international sporting event is the highest honour that any person can ask for. And I will make the final cut to compete in the Pacific Games on my own steam power.”

Samoa PM keen to return to archery competition

News that Tonga is officially not hosting the 2019 Pacific has prompted Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi to put his weight behind Samoa’s bid to bring the games to Apia not only as the government leader but as a competitor.

The Prime Minister has written to the Pacific Games Council President Vidhya Lakhan reiterating that Samoa is more than prepared to host Games.

“Our facilities are available and it was used to host the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2015,” said the Prime Minister.

Tupenu a show of Tongan pride

RNZ reports the rules state that athletes are meant to shoot in shorts but the 18 year old said he wanted to do something different to showcase his heritage and the judges agreed to the request.

"It gives you a bit of a boost to know, to actually feel the tradition and the culture. The last couple of days I was thinking of it and I tried it on and I shot fine in it with the wind but it was mainly just to show how proud we are to be Tongan, the team in general...there's a line called "Tongan Pride" had to show some of my culture, some of what we actually have in Tonga."