Samoa's First Olympic Medal Has Arrived In Country; Athlete Yet To Return Home

Ele Opeloge sorting out papers to return from residence in New Zealand for presentation

By Lance Polu

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Feb. 22, 2017) – Samoa’s first Olympic medal, a Silver to weightlifter Ele Opeloge has arrived in Samoa but the day for the presentation is not yet confirmed.

The medal has been delayed for several months after the International Olympic Committee confirmed the original winner in the 2008 Beijing Games tested positive for banned substances after a re-analysis of samples from nine years ago.

Ele Opeloge narrowly missed the bronze and finished fourth in the Women’s over 75kg division.

The President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation, Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork said it’s a proud and a very happy moment for Samoa.

Ele however, is currently living in New Zealand and sorting out her residency papers.

Tuaopepe said the Federation hopes to bring her across for the official presentation in front of the Government and country to celebrate history.

He also said that the extended delay has been due to the previous winner not giving up the medal. He said that he has been told that after many requests and attempts by the International Olympic Committee, they eventually had to source out a new medal, had it engraved and send it to Samoa.

Tuaopepe also said he hopes the presentation will be sooner when they can sort out the weightlifter to be in Samoa to accept it despite having lost the glory that could have been on the world stage nine years ago.

Copyright © 2017 Talamua. All Rights Reserved

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