A conqueror of unimaginable odds

Here’s the young woman who lost the gold medal to a man who changed his name to Laurel and competed against women:

Samoa’s new golden girl, Feagaiga Stowers, is not just a Commonwealth Games Champion. She is an overcomer and a conqueror of unimaginable odds.

But that wasn’t always the case.

Several years ago, Stowers’ young life hit a snag. The victim of abuse, she was among the survivors of sexual violence who sought refuge and [was] given a second chance at life at the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.).

She entered the Campus of Hope “shy and hopeless.”

Well that girl was not the one the world saw at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre at the Gold Coast on Monday night.

When she stepped up to the competition platform in front of thousands at the stadium and millions watching from around the world, 17-year-old was smiling and confident, nailing the performance of a lifetime.

Stowers was up against the heavy favourite, New Zealand transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard.

But Hubbard dropped out because of an injury that time, so Stowers won the gold medal.

Yesterday, the President of the Samoa Victim Support Group, Siliniu Lina Chang, congratulated Stowers.

“Congratulations and best wishes Feagaiga.  We are so proud of you,” Siliniu said in a statement.

“At the Campus of Hope, Feagaiga was not into singing, dancing, sewing or cooking, but through weightlifting, she found a way to release her anger and her sense of hopelessness.”

“Under a partnership with the Samoa Weightlifting Federation in 2015, some of our girl survivors of violence took up weightlifting as part of their rehabilitation programme, included in them was Feagaiga.”

In 2018 she won a gold medal, but this year she lost the gold to a man. In a women’s competition.

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