Jubilant celebrations of what was said to be Samoa’s first gold medal at the Olympics turned to disappointment and anger yesterday.
The celebration followed a hoax story shared on social media and by some media organizations about weightlifter Vaipava Nevo Ioane winning Samoa’s first gold medal in the 62kgs division final.
The story quickly went viral among the Samoan community. Even a local radio station made the announcement.
But as it turned out, the story was a hoax. It was posted by a website called www.rio2016olympicswiki.com.
The report however took away from a fantastic effort by Ioane who ended the competition in 8th place.
Speaking from Rio, Coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork said he was proud of Ioane’s efforts.
“It was a fantastic effort from Nevo just narrowly missing his last attempts which could have boosted him higher,” Tuaopepe.
“However I am very proud of my lifter he has worked hard over the past 2 years and he deserves the performance.
“This is the first ever male lifter from Samoa to rank in the top 10 at the Olympic Games separate from the women where Ele Opeloge ranked 4th in Beijing and 6th in London. “It was a great start to our team in Rio 2016.”
The next Samoan on the weightlifting stage is Mary Opeloge who is scheduled to compete on Friday.
“Mary on the other hand has sustained a serious injury to the left knee,” he said.
“It was an injury earlier this year but has been worsened during our training last Friday.
“[And] at the moment she’s been given treatment by top medical experts here in Rio hoping that by Friday she will be fit to compete.
“That’s all for now from Rio. Fa’afetai mo le tapuaiga ma talosaga mo le tatou au.”