Low key affair at medal ceremony

Tuesday April 04, 2017 Written by Published in Regional

SAMOA – Samoa’s first Olympic medallist, Ele Opeloge, has finally been officially presented with her silver medal from the Olympics’ weightlifting competition held in Beijing nine years ago.


She was awarded the medal after the silver and bronze winners in the 2008 event were disqualified for using drugs.

The presentation ceremony was held in front of the government complex on Tuesday morning.

Ele Opeloge was also presented with a cheque for over just over 25,000 tala –  $US15,000 – raised through a special fund set up by the Samoa Observer newspaper. Other funds raised by the business community added a further 6000 tala to the Opeloge fund.

The government made no financial contribution.

The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, said the government was now reviewing its policy, which currently rewarded only gold medallists at the Pacific, Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

Opeloge thanked everyone who donated money to the newspaper fund but admonished the government for under-estimating her achievement.

The official presentation of Opeloge’s silver medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics was a low key affair, the Samoa Observer reports, commenting, “thanks to the last minute confirmation of the government’s availability to attend the occasion”.

            - RNZI/PNC

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