Samoa claims gold at paddling World Champs

Photo: Samoa IVF Va’a World Distance Championships 2023/Facebook

Anne Cairns has won Samoa’s first gold medal at the International Va’a Federation World Distance Championship 2023 while Nu’u Muliaga claimed Samoa’s first medal, a bronze on Wednesday.

The female duo waved Samoa’s flag with pride as they were presented their medals.

Cairns, 42, won the V1 Masters 40 Women while Muliaga won bronze in the V1 Junior 19 Women.

Cairns, a mother of two, in an interview with the Samoa Observer said this is not just the highlight of her sporting life but that of herself as a Samoan.

“Having won at home in Samoa is just next level. It was a hot field of women because the Masters 40s is sometimes nearly as strong as the opens so that was probably the best race I’ve done in my life,” she said.

She had been paddling all out for 25 years doing kayaking, va’a, and a lot of different types of paddling but V1 is the newest craft for her.

She raced on Monday in the opening and came fifth.

“Everything is in age groups and because it was a big year and the competition being held this year in Samoa and I wanted to try against the best masters,” she added.

“It was actually an overlap, there were some ladies that did both as well so Monday was good, gave everything I had and today, my health was a lot better and everything just came together.

For the 19-year-old bronze medalist, claiming Samoa’s first medal was the highlight of her journey as a young paddler.

“I feel great that we got a medal,” Muliaga told Samoa Observer.

“I just want to thank my coach over in New Zealand for helping us get to where we are right now and my parents for pushing me to get a medal as well.”

Her aim now is to win a gold medal next time. This is her first ever medal in paddling.

“I started off pretty little and then went on from there,” she added.

She is from Mulivai but is based in New Zealand and this is her first time representing Samoa. Samoa also claimed two more silver medals in the Junior Women V6 and the Open Women V6 events.

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