A very rare gold medal win sparked wild jubilations from the home crowd at the Apia Park Stadium yesterday.
Kelvin Masoe made himself a national hero by winning the gold medal in the mens long jump.
The golden feat is exceptional in an event Samoa is not known for.
Athletics is not in the same powerhouse status as weightlifting and boxing for the host country.
The gold medal tops up the 20 year old’s sudden burst into the limelight earlier in the week, from placing third in the mens 100m sprint to dash off with the bronze medal.
Masoe was an unknown in international competition but with his medals and the adoration of a proud nation, he is now a legitimate Samoan sports star.
“God has done great things for me,” were Masoe’s own words after becoming the Games champion long jumper.
He was also fully aware through out the competition. of the support by the watching crowd.
For the huge local turnout watching from the grandstands, the silent prayer was to hear the national anthem of Samoa played for once in the stadium.
Masoe responded with a winning jump of 7.65m to claim a famous win for himself and a grateful nation cheering from beyond the Apia Park Stadium.
“I am grateful for everyone's support in my journey," the gold medalist acknowledged, the tremendous support he has now won with his athletic success.
Silver medalist Delaunay-Belleville of New Caledonia and bronze medal winner Richard Peniel John of Papua New Guinea, provided a close contest for the Samoan.
His triumph at the sand pitch came in his final jump while trying to chase the leaders.
“I actually gave it my all when I took that last jump and to my surprise, I went further than all the others.”
National athletic coach Ah Chong Sam Chong celebrated the gold medal win with a deep sense of appreciation for winning not just gold but all medals his athletes have won so far.
The running of the mens 4x100m relay tomorrow, Friday, is the last event for Masoe.
He is expected to team up again with sprint silver medalist Jeremy Dodson in a last attempt to bring home the gold medal that has eluded them and other Samoan runners on the track events.
Masoe is a son of the big island of Savai’i where the cheering for his success is expected to be louder.
The loudest of all will echo around the island from his home villages of Asau and Satuiatua.