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Opinion, Opinion

EDITORIAL: Importance Of Developing ‘Minor Sports’

EDITORIAL: Importance Of Developing  ‘Minor Sports’
Team Fiji at the closing ceremony of the Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
December 18
10:44 2017

The 2017 Pacific Mini Games is over.

The Team Fiji contingent arrived at Nadi International Airport on Saturday with 23 gold medals, 27 silver and 23 bronze medals.

That has placed us third overall in the medal tally with Papua New Guinea coming in at second place with 33 gold, 30 silver and 22 bronze medals.

New Caledonia has regained its dominance in the region by topping the medal tally with 47 gold medals, 15 silver and 18 bronze medals.

Although Team Fiji chef de mission Wayne O’Connor was happy with our athletes and officials’ behaviour during the Games, we did not achieve what we had set out to do and that was to top the medal tally.

But there were some superb performances by our athletes indicating that we still have got what it takes to become the region’s No.1.

It’s a matter of Identifying where we went wrong and at the same time ways we could better our performances.

There is a greater need to plan our campaign well and place our focus on sports that will get us those much-needed gold medals.

We need to play smart and at the same time keep a tab on what the other island nations are doing in their preparations as well.

Gone are the days where we could solely rely on athletics to get us to the top of the medal tally.

The emergence of Solomon Islands in dominating the long distance events has seen the middle distance and sprint events become more competitive with gold medals being shared equally among the top island nations.

We were fortunate in Port Vila that weightlifters of Manueli Tulo, Apolonia Vaivai and Eileen Cikamatana won three gold medals each which placed us in a good position during the early part of the competition.

New Caledonia showed us how it’s done when they focused on the minor sports, which have a lot of medals at stake.

The Gregory Panne-coached side scooped 14 out of the 16 gold medals in Karate. This saw New Caledonia open a big lead and was never threatened at all.

We’re fortunate that Mr O’Connor has pinpointed this.

During the closing ceremony at the Korman Sporting Complex in Port Vila, Vanuatu last Friday night, he highlighted the importance of developing so called minor sports because they contribute quite significantly to the medal tally.

It’s now time to start planning ahead for the 2019 Pacific Games to be staged in Apia, Samoa.

There’s no time to wait around if we want to become the region’s No.1.   

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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