Pacific Games | SPORTS

Age Is No Barrier For Salome Tabuatalei

“I want to finish on a high note. I know this could be the final Pacific Games for me. I need to rest.”
29 Jun 2019 16:21
Age Is No Barrier For Salome Tabuatalei
Salome Tabuatalei at the State House, Suva on June 27,2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

From pounding the tracks to paddling, Salome Tabuatalei will be competing in her seventh Pacific Games in Samoa.

She is one of 13 women paddlers selected for the Va’a event.

Her first outing in athletics was at the South Pacific Games (SPG) in Tahiti in 1995.

Her record of 2:11m in the 800 metres still stand today.

In Samoa, she is expected to compete in at least 3 events.

There is no stopping the 59-year-old grandmother.

Even with the passing away of her husband in 2014, Tabuatalei was even more determined to raise her two children single handedly– but at the same time train and take part in competitive sports.

“If I can play this sport at this age, I want to show young people, that age is no barrier.”

In 2011, in the lead up to the Noumea Pacific Games, Tabuatalei had said she was ready to quit.

Eight years later, Tabuatalei is still in good shape and competing against those ten to twenty years younger.

“Because I am a sportsperson, I know what my body needs to perform. I need good rest and appropriate food to cater for the training that I do.”

Tabuatalei is adamant that Samoa could be her final outing.

“I have reached an age when I can feel that I no longer have the speed.

“I want to finish on a high note. I know this could be the final Pacific Games for me. I need to rest.”

Tabuatalei is a gym instructor at the University of the South Pacific. She is grateful for the support from the university over the past 21 years.

WHAT: Va’a racing is one of the more traditional sports of the Games. A total of 16 countries will be participating this year with both the V1 and V6 format being confirmed for both the Men’s and Women’s competitions.

WHERE: Mulifanua will play host to both Va’a and Sailing.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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