Samoa’s only Olympic Medallist, Ele Opeloge, has finally received the glory that was robbed from her some eight years ago.
As Ele basked in the spotlight, her coach , Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork stood in the background.
Tuaopepe beamed with pride like any father would to see their protégé achieve greatness.
Immediately after the formalities concluded, Tuaopepe told the Samoa Observer, “I’m happy it’s done. “
“I wanted this done, finished, buried and I’m happy that’s happened. Ele deserves recognition that she didn’t really get but the Observer gave it to her."
“The Prime Minister and ministers are here; can’t ask for any more than that."
“Even though it was all at short notice, but it’s done.”
Tuaopepe said that if the planning had been better, there would be a better turnout at the parade.
“It would have been a bit better with the support of the country. The country wanted to be part of this. Schools, companies everybody wanted to march in this but we didn’t have time,” he said.
“Thank you that it’s been put on, thank you to the president of S.A.S.N.O.C. for all this, the Prime Minister, and the Observer."
“At the end, the ‘Samoa Observer – Ele’s Fund’ presentation from people has really put some meaning into this as a small reward for Ele’s Silver Medal.”
President of Samoa Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee, Fepuleai Partrick Fepluea’i echoed Tuaopepe’s bittersweet take on Ele’s medal ceremony.
“I kind of feel bad for her since the gloss is gone. It’s eight years later and only now she’s received the medal.”
“Still, it was great to see that she’s finally got it and we’ve done the ceremony.”
Fepulea’i also acknowledged the advanced technology that helped bring the cheat into the light and allowed for Ele to receive what was rightfully hers.
“I think now there’s just better technology that can pick up things that weren’t picked up before."