Elenoa’s Canoeing Journey
Elenoa Vateitei, a resident of Raiwaqa in Suva started her journey in the sport of Outrigger canoe racing 4 years ago.
She started with a bunch of friends from school while in Year 9. She came from a netball background while attending Stella Maris Primary School where she was captain of the team. She was also head girl of the school that year.
Currently in Year 13 at Saint Joseph’s Secondary School, Elenoa is a school prefect and has continued to do well academically passing the Fiji School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) with very good marks. Her leadership qualities are evident in her maturity and attitude with the club members during training and competition.
Since joining the Takia Outrigger Canoe Club she has excelled in the sport.
Elenoa has never been beaten in the junior grades. She started out competing and won the Under-16 girls division two years in a row and at the same time competing and winning the U19 division in both the sprint and marathon events.
Currently, still a young paddler at 17 years old she is competing in the U19 and Open women sprint and marathon events. Elenoa won last year’s U19 girls division and open women’s marathon division and finished in the top three for the sprint events at the local competitions.
In 2015, while Elenoa was still 16 years old, she was chosen to represent Fiji in the women’s Va’a team at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea. This was her first international event and the first time to step out of Fiji.
Las year, the Takia Outrigger Canoe Club took it’s open and junior teams to the World Sprints Championship on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Elenoa was a member of the U19 girl’s team who reached the semi-finals in the stiff international competition. Elenoa was also entered in the V1 (single person outrigger canoe) competition in both the U19 and open women events. Unfortunately, she had a mishap in her U19 race and did not progress. She progressed to the semi-finals of the open women’s division. Elenoa came back home with the best results from the Fiji entries.
With the promise this young lady has shown and to further develop her skills in the sport Fiji Outrigger has chosen her to represent the country at the 2017 World Distance Championship to be held in Tahiti from June 28. Elenoa will paddle the V1- 16km marathon event where she will represent the country in the U19 division.
Currently training under former national coach and club president, Duane Reiher, she has been putting in extra training time to get up to the competition standard. She currently trains six sessions per week on the water and another three sessions in the gym. Elenoa has also been training alongside the master women’s team. She has also been training alongside veteran – Salome Tabuatalei on the water. These women will also be taking part at the World Distance Championship. This has helped push her standards higher and the Coach expects good results.
“I know she has the potential to be a world class paddler. Competing at these events will give her international exposure which will definitely help improve her standards and give her confidence in competing at the elite level.
Preparations has been challenging at times because I want her to have the right balance between school work and training, but I take my hat off to her for the dedication she puts into her studies and at the same time training schedules.
She is like a real life Moana, she loves the ocean and always stands up to any challenge and somehow always finishes on top. I know the time and finances invested in her development will be repaid because she always brings back valuable experiences and shares with the paddling community, especially her peers who are the future of this sport,” said Reiher