The American Samoa Handball Association (ASHA) has begun it’s fourth year of voluntary physical education classes in partnership with the American Samoa Department of Education at the local Lupelele Elementary School. This year the program involves children kindergarten through eighth grade, and runs from Monday through to Friday.
“We chose Lupelele Elementary because of its location between high Scchool jurisdictions. The students, when they graduate, disperse to four different high schools providing us with a higher percentage of opportunities to develop our game of handball throughout our territory,”said CJ Sagapolutele Floor, ASHA President.
Training continues three days a week for all national beach handball teams, while a special cross-training program has been implemented for youth and junior beach handballers with the Paddling Association. The concept of cross-training with paddling is based on team building and team work, as paddling requires synchronisation between paddlers and good communication.
The young handballers have been entered in the 2020 Pala Lagoon Paddle Battle which takes place in late November.
“‘We are one’ is our motto, and this is a great opportunity for our young athletes to bond and work together,” explained Floor.
He added; “Many of our athletes come from different villages and attend different schools. Getting them to understand that when we compete internationally we are one, all from American Samoa [is important].”
2018 Youth Olympian and senior women’s beach handball captain, Stephanie Floor, is also is a college wrestler at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. She has been awarded the Most Improved Wrestler by her coaches and has earned All-American Scholar Athlete; both awards for the second year in a row.