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Prominent Samoans: Beatrice Faumuina
Beatrice Faumuina; kiwi Samoa

Beatrice Faumuina has been New Zealand's top ranking track & field athlete for a number of years, a result of her mighty effort in winning the 1997 world title in Athens.
This effort lifted her to the top of the nation's sports heroes and was rewarded with many awards including the prestigious Halberg Award.

Beatrice suffered injury in 1998 but overcame the effects to win gold at the Commonwealth Games with a new Games record. From then until the New Zealand Championships in late February 1999, Beatrice took time away from competing in an effort to fully recover so she could defend her World title. Although ultimately unsuccessful, her fifth placing was the best by a New Zealander at the Championships and signalled a full return to top throwing. Her effort in the final resulted in her best throw of the year, an excellent effort in the heat of a championship final.

2000 started slowly with solid efforts during the Marley Games but some defeats to Australian Liza Marie Vizaniari and one to Alison Lever during late season competitions in Australia.

Beatrice retained her national discus title in Christchurch but left the shot undefended. After the nationals, she competed in South Africa during their Grand Prix series winning both discus competitions, the first with a world class 65.41m. Later she went to Japan and the USA to compete in IAAF Grand Prix events before settling into a training and competition regime in Queensland aimed at bringing her to a competitive peak for the Olympic Games. She finished a solid second at the Australian Olympic Trials.

At the Olympic Games, Beatrice qualified for the final but a was a little below par in the final finishing 12th. She was, however, the only kiwi to make a final in Sydney.

Beatrice carried more pressure than other kiwi track and field athletes in the lead up to Sydney due to her great successes of recent years and the expectations of a whole nation.

Due to injury, Beatrice competed only at the start of the domestic 2000-2001 season. From then until well into the 2001-2 season, Beatrice spent time recovering from serious injury and under Debbie Strange, built up for international competition.

2002 proved to be a good season for Beatrice and with a good throw at the Nationals, looked to be on the right course for the Commonwealth Games. Her build up included several major overseas events where she placed well.

In Manchester there was little doubt she would be the one to beat in the discus and so it proved. Conditions were far from favourable, consequently her winning throw was well below what most expected but her win was emphatic.

Beatrice became the fourth New Zealand track & field athlete to retain a Commonwealth Games title (Yvette Williams - long jump, 1950, 1954, Murray Halberg - 3 miles, 1958, 1962, and Val Young - shot, 1958, 1962, 1966 and discus, 1962, 1966). Gavin Lovegrove (javelin bronze at 1986, 1990 and 1994 Games) and Young (with a bronze in the 1958 discus and she had a fourth medal, a silver, in the shot in 1974, but that was after missing one Games) are the only ones to match Beatrice’s three consecutive medals.

After the Games Beatrice was selected for the IAAF World Cup in Madrid. This event saw her return to the top of the world with an unexpected win and the World Cup gold medal, the first New Zealander to achieve the feat.

It is hoped that as a comparative youngster, she will remain a force for the foreseeable future.