16 Jan 2017

Sport: Weighting game for Samoa sports fans

2:08 pm on 16 January 2017

Samoa's government are still eagerly awaiting word as to when they can plan to an official reception for newly crowned silver medallist Ele Opeloge.

Sports Minister Loau Keneti Sio said there is a buzz around the country's sports fraternity because of the historical feats of boxer Joseph Parker and weightlifter Opeloge.

In December a half day holiday was announced and Parker was welcomed to the Samoan capital of Apia with much fanfare.

Similar celebrations are expected when Opeloge is finally presented with her Olympic medal.

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Sports minister Loau, (right) with Joseph Parker during celebrations in Apia last year Photo: RNZI/ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Opeloge initially finished fourth in the women's over 75kg division at the 2008 Beijing Games but with both the silver and bronze medallists from that event recently testing positive for banned substances the New Zealand-based Samoan will get the silver.

Loau said his government is now waiting for the medal to be presented.

"We will do something to receive the medal and hopefully we can organise a presentation for Ele to come over and receive her medal and also this is the first medal for Samoa in the Olympic Games so it will be quite a big occasion with us here in the islands," Loau said.

He said the long wait for a medal continued but because of the significance of the Olympic Games his pride remained.

Loau was appointed sports minister after the elections in March 2016 and said he never expected to witness such celebrations.

Ele Opeloge of Samoa competes in the women's +75 kg weightlifting event during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 16, 2008.

Opeloge is still waiting to receive her Olympic silver medal Photo: AFP PHOTO/JUNG YEON-JE

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