Samoan athlete is strong medal contender in field events

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The National, Monday July 13th, 2015

 WITH the 2015 Pacific Games athletics competition starting today, Samoa’s Alex Rose is expected to be a strong medal contender in the field events, shot put and discus.

The US-born and raised Rose has aspirations to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics and to that end has represented the country his father was born in at last year’s Oceania Championships in Tahiti where he set a Samoan record in the discus with a throw of 59.83m. 

The Pacific Games record for the discus throw is 58.31m and was set by New Caledonia’s Bertrand Vili at the 2007 Games in Apia.

Rose contacted Athletics Samoa early in 2014 expressing his interest to represent the country and was duly included in the national team.

Rose won a state championship in the shot put while representing Ogemaw Heights High School in 2010 and placed fifth in the discus for the Central Michigan University at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships the following year, earning him All American honours.

The 24-year-old has since gone on to represent Samoa at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Moscow, Russia, last August, where he finished 29th overall with a discus throw of 56.19m.  

It is understood that Rose has never been to Samoa but was chosen to be the country’s flag-bearer at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, an honour he describes as his proudest moment. He went on to finish seventh in the discus.

Rose says it has always been his dream to be an Olympian and he has started that process by being part of the Samoan team. 

Rose has dual citizenship of the US and Samoa. But his eligibility to represent Samoa has not been challenged by other countries in the Pacific Games despite Rose clearly not meeting one of the basic criteria which is that an athlete must have lived in the country he or she is representing for a total of at least five years during his or her lifetime.

When Samoa included another American-born athlete Jeremy Dobson in their ranks at this year’s Oceania Athletics Championships in Cairns, Australia, there was much talk among the Island countries about the possibility of him coming to Port Moresby for the Games.  

Dobson beat the Pacific’s fastest man Fiji’s Banuve Taubakacoro in the 100m final but came second to him in the 200m.

Dobson was not included in the Samoan track and field team for the Pacific Games. 

Athletics PNG president Tony Green when contacted for comment said that if Dobson had nominated he would certainly have been challenged as it was well known that he had never lived in Samoa. 

“Alexander Rose however seems to have slipped through the net. No one challenged his eligibility so he is free to compete. If what we are now hearing is true then it’s disappointing that this can be allowed to happen,” Green said.

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