When people think about Ele Opeloge, they see success.
As Samoa’s and the Pacific’s first female Olympic medalist, she will take her place as one of the great sporting icons of all time.
But what people don’t see is the amount of work, training and discipline Ele had to put up with to be where she is.
“For ten years before the Olympics, Ele trained six days a week,” said Tuoapepe Jerry Wallwork.
Ele’s coach and the President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation was speaking during a special assembly at Leifiifi College yesterday where School Principal, Sefuiva Malaea Lauano, presented $750 raised by the school for the Samoa Observer’s Ele Fund.
The Editor of the Samoa Observer, Mata’afa Keni Lesa, was also present.
In addressing the students, Tuaopepe spoke about discipline and commitment.
He said Ele’s daily schedule involved three training sessions a day. It starts at 5am, the second session in the afternoon and then the final session at 5pm.
“She did this for ten years before the Olympic Games in Beijing,” Tuaopepe said, encouraging the students that if they want to get somewhere in life, discipline is the key.
Both Tuaopepe and Ele are former students of Leifiifi College. They are also hailed as role models for the students.
For Ele, she attended the school from 1996 to 1998.
And when the Samoa Observer set up the Ele Fund, the school jumped at the opportunity to contribute.
On Thursday, they had a wheelbarrow fundraiser where the amount was raised.
“We are very proud of what Ele has achieved,” said the Principal.
“And we decided that whatever money the students and teachers can raise, we will present it to show our appreciation and acknowledge this massive achievement by Ele.”
Tuaopepe was extremely grateful.
He thanked the school on behalf of the Weightlifting fraternity as well as Ele’s family.
Mata’afa expressed the Samoa Observer’s heartfelt gratitude to the students and teachers.
“Ele deserves to be recognised and rewarded for what she has achieved,” he said. This is why the Samoa Observer has decided to rally the community to raise funds for this champion of Samoa.
“Whether you gave five sene, ten sene or a hundred tala, God knows and he will bless you accordingly.
“On behalf of Gatoaitele Savea Sano, Muliaga Jean Malifa and the staff of the Samoa Observer, we thank you again.”