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EDITORIAL-Hosting Weightlifting World Champs Boosts Fiji’s Growing Global Appeal

EDITORIAL-Hosting Weightlifting World Champs  Boosts Fiji’s Growing Global Appeal
Weightlifting Fiji president Atma Maharaj.
June 18
09:58 2017

Fiji continues to appeal all over the world as a marketable sporting destination.

We hosted major international tournaments in the past and the interest is growing.

With rugby being our national sport, we continue to be the No.1 destination for test matches in Oceania for World Rugby.

But it is the minor sports that have benefitted from our growing global charm as a place where you can play and simultaneously enjoy the hospitality.

We have established ourselves as a golf destination after successfully hosting the annual Fiji International at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course going into the fourth year now.

And we continue to attract top golfers from around the world every year like Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and our very own Vijay Singh.

Beach volleyball is a minor sport in Fiji and who would have thought the world governing body FIVB selected Fiji as one of the venues for 2017 Beach Volleyball World Tour.

We could have hosted it in Pacific Harbour, Deuba in February but unfortunately had to be cancelled due the adverse weather condition affecting the country earlier this year.

We hosted overseas teams in table tennis, cricket, bowling and netball earlier this year.

And next week the Oceania Athletics Area Championship will be held at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

But the big news of the week was the announcement by the International Weightlifting Federation last Wednesday in Tokyo for Fiji to host the Junior World Championship in 2019.

This is another first for Fiji. Again who would have thought that the executive board of the IWF unanimously endorsed Fiji’s bid in Tokyo over renowned weightlifting nations like Uzbekistan and Albania. Even the United States withdrew its bid in support of Fiji

But Fiji would not have won without the support of the Government.

Fiji’s bid was presented by Weightlifting Fiji president Atma Maharaj and Isikeli Mataitoga, Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji to Japan.

It was evident and a foregone conclusion that Fiji would win the bid after IWF president Tamas Ajan and Secretary-General Attila Adamfi spoke highly of the warm welcome and the high quality of the Continental Qualification event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games which Fiji hosted.

This helped the newly-elected IWF executive board to gain confidence in Fiji’s ability to host this world event.

An added boost was when Maharaj advised the meeting that Dr Robin Mitchell, Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) president and patron of Weightlifting Fiji to agree to take the position of organising committee chairperson.

This is the first time since 1993 (Melbourne, AUS) that a country from the Oceania region and first time ever for a Pacific Island to organise an IWF World Championships.

With the bid won, this is the chance to increase the profile of the sport in the country on all levels.

Weightlifting Fiji is in good hands under the leadership of Dr Mitchell and Maharaj.

The sport continues to capture administrative and leadership prizes during the annual Fiji Sports Awards.

Come 2019, we should in good stead to compete with the best. Weightlifting Fiji have taken the first step in winning the bid. They need our support to make the world take notice.

 

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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you said it
"I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity. I want to make sure that I am by her side when my first child is born."
Jasa Veremalua
Fiji Rugby 7s rep
June 2017
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