Samoa’s Olympic medalist, Ele Opeloge, is unlikely to earn a lot of money – if any – from the government for her efforts. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s insists the government only awards monetary gifts to Olympic gold medal winners. What do you think? Does Ele deserve money from the government? Reporters Aruna Lolani and Fetalai Tuiluluu asked members of the public in today’s Street Talk and this is what they said:
Ron Dukenona, Faleasi’u, 31
I didn’t know Ele isn’t getting any money for her medal but now that I do know, I think she should. The government should give her an amount close to the amount they gave Parker. I think that was more than $200,000.
Moveni Ti’aseuga, Vailima, 32
The government should have given her money. The people she was competing against were tough competitors and sort of unfair in some ways. She deserves at least something to help out with her family’s needs. I just found out that she has a child now so the government should think about that too.
Falani Keneseli, Tufulele, 65
The right thing to do is for the P.M to give Ele money. The truth is, it’s just a gold medal but there’s more than one sport these days. So for the silver medal that we got, it’s a first in weightlifting and we should appreciate it because Ele went out there, representing the name of the government of Samoa so in other words, Ele is the P.Ms daughter. This is the Samoan way that’s known as “matua-faitama”. She represented Samoa, she represented the government, and she represented the P.M so in that case, he’s a parent who should be appreciating either his son’s work or daughter’s work in terms of acknowledging and rewarding them for their hard work. The Bible says a person’s hard work must always be appreciated. Ele did so much for Samoa so there should be a token of appreciation for that.
Siaki Mafiti, Lalovaea, 55
The government should help Ele because if we think about it, she’s the first woman to ever get a medal from the Olympic Games for Samoa. Ele put all her effort and sweat in representing Samoa in weightlifting so she deserves money for this. Another thing why the P.M and the government must do this is because she has children and anyone in her place needs money to help the kids, her parents and her whole family. The government should at least consider the fact that she has been working hard for Samoa. Training is never something that’s easy. We’re only humans. Ele deserves money from the government.
Duffy Asotasi, Letogo, 35
For me, I think Ele has the right to receive money from the government for her silver medal. That’s the right thing to do and I’m saying it’s the right thing because we all know that, not only Ele had represented our country in a good way but she promote Samoa and make this country known worldwide. It took her a whole lot of courage and sweat to do that, she deserves something in return from Samoa.
Fetalaiga Tu’ulua, Leusoali’i & Tufulele, 32
She should get money. I mean, who would be motivated to represent Samoa again if this is how it’s going to be? If it’s not a gold medal, you get nothing? I think the next generation are only going to just represent Samoa without any intention to win. Ele’s strength has been used for this country especially now that she’s coming back from New Zealand soon and if we put this in a fair way, she should get money for all her hard work. She should at least get half of whatever amount of money athletes get for gold medals. It’s always good to know that people who are representing our country are getting something from it and that they are being appreciated.
If I put myself in their shoes, I would feel the same way too. All my family complained about this issue when we heard news about the P.M not giving Ele any money for her efforts. Not even $10 tala. The government should be sure about their decision though, for all I know Ele can just ask for her medal to be brought to New Zealand and not come to Samoa.