Samoa looking ahead to Rio Paralympics with eye on powerlifting

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Leitu Viliamu, at the Paralympic Village in 2012. Viliamu is one of two Samoans who competed at this year's event in London.
Image: Laura Hale.
An interview with the Samoa Chef de Mission Julie Tuala in London
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England — In an interview with Samoa's Chef de Mission at the London Paralympics, Julie Tuala said she hopes to get a powerlifting program under way in Samoa following the London Games.

The Samoa Paralympic Committee, she explained, with assistance from the Oceania Paralympic Committee is submitting a grant request to acquire the equipment necessary for a powerlifting program in Samoa; equipment costs around A$18,000 to A$20,000 used, and is specifically built for paraplegic competitors who need to be strapped down when lifting. If Samoa is successful in getting the money for the equipment, the next challenge will be finding money to cover the cost of freighting it to Samoa. Tuala and the nation's athletics coach have previously held raffles, run events at a golf club, and run bake sales to assist in covering costs for developing disability sport in the country and look to do it again if they can get the grant. The last grant the International Paralympic Committee gave for the region for the equipment did not include Samoa.

According to Tuala, equipment costs are a major barrier to participation in the development of disability sport. Samoan London Paralympian Leitu Viliamu needs a new leg as she has outgrown hers. A high quality leg like the one worn by Oscar Pistorius can cost upwards of AUD$10,000 per leg. Viliamu and fellow Samoan Paralympian Milo Toleafoa only acquired real running shoes for the first time when they arrived in London.

Samoa has primarily sent athletics competitors to past Paralympics because of the cost factor.


Sources

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Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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