Letter of Thanks from Olympian, Evelina

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Dear Patrick

I am writing to you to express my utmost gratitude for all that SASNOC, the Samoan Sporting Federation, Chef de Mission Milford, Kerrie Punivalu and Suzie Schuster have done for me throughout my journey as part of not only the Samoan Swimming Team, but as part of Team Samoa.

I joined the team as a thirteen-year-old, attending the 2012 Oceania Swimming  Championships in Noumea, New Caledonia, as my first international competition. Ever since then, I have been blessed to have travelled all over the world, having also competed at the 2013 World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, the 2014 Oceania Swimming Championships in Auckland, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Doha, the 2015 World Swimming Championships in Kazan, the 2016 Oceania Swimming Championships, and most recently, the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

With a list this long, it is fair to say that I have had some of my greatest life experiences in the past few years. In attending all of these events, most recently the Olympics, I have always felt safe and supported by Chef de Mission Milford, Kerrie Punivalu, Suzie Schuster, SASNOC and Team Samoa.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent and compete for Samoa. In representing Samoa, I have gained so much more perspective of life, a greater passion and appreciation for sport, and also learnt more about not only myself, but the type of person I want to be. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the amazingly grounded, respectful, and humble family that is Samoa.

I would also like to thank the people of Samoa. While in Rio, athletes were gifted money that was raised by the people of Samoa, who volunteered their own time, and effort. I am humbled and honoured to have received money as a result of the generosity of the business who donated prizes as well as donations from the Samoan public.

Finally, I apologise for the delay in sending you this letter of thanks. I have been meaning to write to you ever since I returned home, however, once I arrived back in Brisbane, I became distracted with catching up with studies, assignments and exams. I now have a lull in study to prepare for final assignments and exams next week which has allowed me to complete this letter of appreciation which was started some time ago.

Mere words cannot express how grateful and appreciative I am for the opportunities that have been afforded me as an athlete. I also cannot adequately explain how thankful I am for the heart-warming love and support shown me by SASNOC, Samoa Swimming Federation and the people of Samoa.

Thank you all for helping me develop as an athlete and also grow as a person.

Faafetai, faafetail lava, alofa atu,

Evelina Afoa