Editorial

Editiorial:  True Value And Spirit Of Coca-Cola Games Must Be Winner

The Coke Games, with thousands of followers across the country, is the one local sporting competition that brings the entire nation to a standstill.
16 Apr 2019 18:39
Editiorial:  True Value And Spirit Of Coca-Cola Games Must Be Winner
Savusavu Secondary School athlete, Penisitoni Kama is gold hopeful in 2019 Coca Cola games at Damodar Aquatic centre on April 15, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The unignorable and ever-changing Fiji Sec­ondary Schools Athletics Association nation­al finals, otherwise known as the Coca Cola Games, are back.

The ANZ Stadium in Suva will play host to hundreds of athletes from a diverse range of schools over three-days of intense competition, starting tomorrow.

The annual event is filled with vibrant colours, rau­cous cheering, tasty food, fierce rivalry, sportsman­ship, thrills, spills and loads of fun.

The Coke Games, with thousands of followers across the country, is the one local sporting competition that brings the entire nation to a standstill.

The stadium is full to the brim every year despite the meet being aired live on free-to-air television.

The carnival atmosphere inside the stadium serves as the backdrop for the event and is something ath­letes must handle during competition.

Defending boys champion Ratu Kadavulevu School is keeping a low profile.

Its counterpart in the girls division Adi Cakobau School has taken a similar approach.

Both do not want to reveal too much about their prep­aration, the suspense adding the hype of the Games.

In addition to the excitement off the tracks, the Coke Games has a rich history of producing some of Fiji’s top athletes.

National sprinter Banuve Tabakaurcoro, who com­peted for Marist Brother High School from 2007-2012, was first discovered at the Coke Games.

He has gone on to play rugby 7s for Fiji Barbarians and set the 100m and 200m national records.

Australian Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete com­peted for Nasinu Secondary School.

The 2013’s top male athlete, Batanisavu Uluiyata, is also excelling in rugby sevens after emerging at the annual games.

He ran for Natabua High School and won the senior boys 400m where he was dubbed “The Superman”.

The list is long and includes athletes like former national 7s coach Iliesa Tanivula, 400m runner Niko Verekauta and France-based winger Saimoni Vaka.

The games provide a platform for our athletes, who shed blood, sweat and tears for their school, to express themselves and get noticed.

They are the primary stakeholders.

There have been allegations that some schools have begun putting success at the games ahead of the wel­fare of the athletes.

If true, then this is sad and runs counter to the spirit of the games.

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Youth and Sports Maretino Nemani will be opening the games on Tuesday and has a lot to say about the games.

Our athletes deserve the best. The competition be­comes pointless if they are not prioritised.

Sheldon Chanel

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

 

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