The countdown has begun to the 2023 International Va’a Federation (IVF) World Distance Championship to be held in the Samoan capital Apia in August this year.
The Samoa Outrigger Canoe Association (SOCA) had lobbied for Samoa to host the next tournament after traveling to Los Angeles in the United States to express its interest. The event was supposed to be held back in 2021 but due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all plans were put on hold.
Samoa's Minister for Tourism, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster thanked the SOCA for approaching the IVF as the world tournament will bring teams from all over the world to compete in Samoan waters.
He said this is the first major international event that Samoa will host after the country lifted its State of Emergency (SOE) restrictions to come out of the lockdown.
“The World Distance Championship is a test of endurance and teamwork as six-man outrigger canoes paddle out for 24 kilometers so we are very excited to see this become a success and the Government of Samoa has given its wholehearted support to this event," said the Minister.
The Government of Samoa has provided funding for the latest six-man outrigger canoes which were made in Tahiti, a nation known for its prowess in the sport, having won the most gold medals at the last IVF Championship. Teams from around the Pacific will be in the country by August this year to compete alongside some of the best in the world.
L-R: The IVF President Laura Collins and Samoa's Minister for Tourism, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster unveiled the logo for the upcoming world championship.
The IVF President Laura Collins said that it was a great honor to also unveil the logo of the upcoming Long Distance World Championship.
“It’s very exciting and has been a long time coming and to be able to work with the SOCA to build towards this event," she said. "This is more than a sport, it’s a way of life and for the people of the Pacific, the Va’a is what connects us together.
"The traditions, the culture, and the people we come to Samoa to celebrate through this competition. Just as it has connected many islands of the Pacific, it now connects many countries of the world.
Samoa's Minister for Tourism, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster, the IVF President Laura Collins and the STA staff including their CEO in a photo shoot after the official launching.
"We hope to have over 25 countries with over a thousand paddlers and spectators coming from as far away as Germany, Canada, and all over the world.”
Mrs. Collins said that this was a great opportunity for the world to celebrate the Va’a as well as to celebrate Samoa and her culture.
------From Samao Observer