Congressman Faleomavaega today commended the American Samoa Junior Sailors competitors for their performance in the recent 2006 Open International Optimist Sailing Championship in Australia.
“I am impressed with these youngsters’ performance, and even though they did not win any grand prizes, they have all made American Samoa’s presence known. Given time and development, I know that that presence will be felt more on the competition level in the international sailing sports world in the near future,” the Congressman said.
“Aside from this, our young sailors have certainly brought back to life something our Samoan ancestors were noted for in history, Samoans were known throughout Polynesia and the Pacific as great sailors. The first Western explorers in the 18th Century referred to the Samoa Group as the Navigator Islands. This was all for the good and just reason in that Samoans at that time were superb sailors and navigators,” Faleomavaega related.
“The various aquatic sports like sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and many more that are now established at Utulei Beach, provide good opportunities for our young people to participate and take part in. With community and government support, plus proper promotion and sponsorship, this is another sport our young people should have no problem excelling in, since sailing tactics and skills should still be in our blood,” Faleomavaega said.
“The biggest regatta event in the world is the America’s Cup. Crews from Pacific countries like New Zealand and Australia have excelled in this race aside from the Americans and British, among many other world nations. Perhaps it is a far-off dream to think of a Samoan crew or a Samoan crew member in that race in the future; but so was it at the time when there were no Samoans in other major sports and international competitions like the National Football League, Boxing, Baseball, International Rugby, the Olympics and what have we,” the Congressman challenged.
“We have the most ideal facilities and natural location to develop a first-class aquatic sports program. It does not require costly stadiums, sports fields, courts or tracks. We have a natural beach within a protected harbor that leads out to the open ocean, and how much more blessed are we with these natural facilities for sailing and other aquatic sports?” Faleomavaega pointed out.
“So again, I want to make an appeal to the President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonalds, Agaoleatu Charlie Tautolo, to seriously consider another site like in the villages of Pago Pago or Aua for his proposed second McDonalds location in American Samoa other than Utulei Beach. We need to develop our young people in whatever sport they can possibly do good in; and aquatic sports is one of them. We have Utulei Beach as the only appropriate and available venue for this sport. It is vital that we keep it open for our people, especially for the development of our young aquatic athletes and sports teams and the enjoyment of our people in general, ” the Congressman said.
“I again commend our young sailors who participated in Australia, and my fa’afetai tele lava to all the local sailing clubs, company and business sponsors like ACE Hardware, ANZ-Amerika Samoa Bank, National Pacific Insurance (NPI) and Pepsi for their wonderful support and sponsorship,” Faleomavaega concluded.