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EDITORIAL-Sports Budget Bigger, July Brings Good Tidings

EDITORIAL-Sports Budget Bigger, July Brings Good Tidings
John McKee
July 02
10:06 2017

What a way to greet the month of July.

And it seems there is never a dull moment as far as sports is concerned.

We just had a hectic six months and the future looks better and brighter.

July brings good tidings with the 2017-18 Budget announcement that the Ministry of Youth and Sports has been allocated $23.1 million, an increase of $6.7million.

This is a significant increase and reflects the input and the importance sports play in nation building and development.

We have another hectic six months to look forward to and this includes:

Rugby World Cup qualifiers against Tonga and Samoa this month;

Fiji International Golf at Natadola Bay in August;

A Fijian team in Australia’s National Rugby Championships in September;

2017 Rugby League World Cup in Australia in October;

Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu in December;

And Government must be applauded for creating new initiatives to bring fairness and equality to all by;

Providing $120,000 – sports grants for persons living with disabilities to increase physical activity and encourage greater participation in national sports activities;

$80,000 – to support the operations of the Boxing Commission of Fiji to revive the sport in Fiji.

$10,000 – Fijian National Sports Commission to carry out an assessment on improving the administration of national sporting organisations in order to strengthen governance and improve its potential to attract corporate sponsorship.

Sports tourism is playing an active role as a major source of revenue earner for the country and there is $12.5million allocated under the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the Fiji International golf tournament at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course, now in its fourth year and Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and Chiefs.

The onus is on the sporting bodies to maximise the use of the Budget allocation.

And they could expect more next year if they account for every cent spent and translate it into performance of athletes.


McKee’s the Right Choice

The other good news is Fiji Rugby Union’s extending Vodafone Flying Fijians coach John McKee’s contract for another two years.

This will enable McKee take the team to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

McKee was appointed as head coach in 2014 and has done wonders.

Despite the ‘Pool of Death’ during 2015 RWC, the Fijians performed well against Tier One nations England, Australia and Wales.

He has been instrumental in Fiji’s dominance in the region.

But the biggest win for Fiji and McKee was the 27-22 win over Scotland last weekend. The last time Fiji has beaten a Top Ten nation was the 38-34 victory over Wales at the 2007  RWC in France.

But the road to the 2019 RWC in Japan resumes on Saturday in Tonga. After being unbeaten in the first round of the 2019 RWC qualifiers last year, the Flying Fijians need to beat either Tonga or Samoa to qualify.

But McKee wants to continue the dominance in the region.

McKee said: “We have a huge challenge ahead of us. But I am confident with the players we have and what they have done as a group. We are in a very good position to do well in our RWC qualification against Tonga and Samoa and achieve our goal as Oceania’s No.1.”

With two years to prepare for the 2019 RWC, compared to a few months during the 2015 RWC, McKee is in better position to identify the core squad for 2019. Obviously the FRU has made the right choice and it’s good news to rugby fans.



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