Team Samoa Chef de Mission driven by her passion for sport and education

For Team Samoa Chef de Mission, Nynette Sass, sport and continuing to learn are the driving forces in her life.
As a young girl from the villages of Safune, Savai’i, Lefaga and Vaimoso, she dreamt of being a neurosurgeon, took up acting and designed her own clothing.

Becoming a sports lover started early at the age of four.

Nynette Sass

Nynette Sass, right, was appointed Team Samoa's Chef de Mission in 2017

“I was a sprinter when I was young,” she says. “In those days we lived in Togafuafua and one of the things that I learnt to do was to run fast to avoid the dogs - and in those days the road wasn’t tar, it was rough roads and potholes.”

Her grandmother raised her and taught her the morals of life and also the importance of self-reliance and study.

She is President of the Samoa Badminton Federation and Vice President of Samoa Sailing Association. In 2017, she was appointed Samoa’s Chef de Mission till the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 by president, Fepulea’i Patrick Fepulea’i, president of the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (SASNOC).

She is very aware of the challenges running a major international event like the Pacific Games poses for a nation of less than 200,000 people and in a very short time frame.

“I’m extremely proud of Samoa for being so gutsy and jumping in,” she says. “It’s amazing the changes that have transpired since the team got started just over a year ago. I can see it every day, changing constantly.”

The Chef de Mission role is to ensure the welfare of team members and she’s full of praise for the Games Village at Faleula and the solutions proposed for transporting athletes and officials.

Teams at the Pacific Games will be allocated individual vehicles based on athlete numbers for each sport and there will be a comprehensive shuttle system in place.

Read more:

“The offer that’s been put on the table by the organising team is going to make life so much easier. It means that there’ll be less time spent on the road by the athletes, so, bravo, thank you for doing that. Samoa has gone way beyond expectations, that’s the big takeaway for us.”

She has always looked at education as a number one priority. However, she also recognizes that not everybody is an academic and there are people leaving school without much hope.

“Sport has the potential to unleash some of the raw talent we have,” she adds. “SASNOC has a massive role to play. We’re a very influential organisation in developing sports. That is the reason I am here.”