Jil Walter: Samoan archery, Pacific Games medals and that gift to the PM
Updated: Jan 21
Rising star of Samoan Archery Jil Walter talks to us about the state of Samoan Archery since the recent Pacific Games, what she is preparing for next and what it was like to gift one of her Gold Medals to her team mate. the Prime Minister of Samoa.
For those who don't know, Jil is an up and coming archer in the region, she is a Youth Olympian and won 2 Gold and 1 Silver medal at the recent Pacific Games.
What was it like to have the Prime Minister in your sport?
It's astonishing, it's not everyday you get to witness one of Samoa's great leaders compete in sport. A very down to earth person, friendly and funny man.
Tell us about the PM Gold medal moment
It wasn't something I planned, it just happened on the spot. I gave it to him because he's just an amazing leader and I have so much respect for him and what he's done for my country and this sport.
Has holding the Pacific Games helped your archery federation?
Yes indeed, it has helped a lot. We gained quite a lot of newcomers. We weren't a big sport in Samoa, so gaining a couple medals from the event also contributed to boosting the popularity in Archery. Equipment wise- we have a pretty decent amount of new equipment now.
What is your federation doing to grow the sport now that the games are over?
We've set up different programs you can take to learn more about the sport and also help keep the sport growing in Samoa. Twice a month we have mini tournaments to keep track of our progress. There are also extra courses you could take such as the beginners course for those that are new to the sport.
How often do you train and how many people shoot with you?
Whenever I'm free or available, that's when I get to practice. So roughly around 2-5 times a week. I shoot together with more than 20 other archers and every week or two we have mini competitions.
What is the hardest thing about being a Samoan archer? What is the best part?
The hardest part is finding the time to practice. The best part is knowing that everyday I get to be doing something I love. I never really appreciated this sport as much as I do now- so I'm just happy that I found my passion. Having the PM in archery is kinda cool if you ask me.
What was the best part of the games for you?
Everything actually; The preparation- months leading towards the games. Having it in your homeland was a bonus but definitely getting to shoot alongside my teammates and other archers from all around the Pacific.
What is it like having an Olympian as your dad/coach?
It's really great to have my dad by my side; We've been doing archery for a while now and I'm just really happy and grateful to go through this journey in sport together with him. If it weren't for him I wouldn't be doing archery in the first place
What is your next big event?
The Oceania Championships which will be held in Fiji next year and I'm definitely looking forward to that.
We would like to thank Jil for taking time away from studies and training to answer our questions and share some images as well. We wish her and all the archers in Samoa all the best and we look forward to seeing Samoa continue to grow.