SPORTS

Mar Tells Of Her Sports Journey

After many years of competitive sports she is grateful to be able to give something back as a sports administrator- this she has been doing for the past 28 years.
21 Dec 2016 11:00
Mar Tells Of Her Sports Journey
From left: Sports Matters CEO Jackie Lauff presented FASANOC CEO Lorraine Mar the "Oceania Inspirational Women" making a difference in physical education, sport and dance book produced by Australian Janice Crosswhite. The book was recently launched in Rio. Photo: FASANOC

After many years of competitive sports she is grateful to be able to give something back as a sports administrator- this she has been doing for the past 28 years.

Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) chief executive officer, Lorraine Mar reminisced on her young days and how it motivated her to where she is today.

“I guess sports runs in my genes,” she told SUNsports.

“I had one uncle who represented Fiji in football in the inaugural South Pacific Games, which was held in Fiji in 1963. Then another uncle who played hockey for Fiji in the 1979 South Pacific Games, strangely neither of these sports rubbed off on me. My childhood exposure to sports was through primary school netball as a representative of Stella Maris.”

Mar said through family connections she was introduced to badminton.

“A game I played competitively at the national level for many years.  After watching tennis during the 1979 South Pacific Games in Suva, I was inspired to take up the sport and was a tennis rep to the South Pacific Mini Games and later to the South Pacific Games. I joined FASANOC in 1988 and I’m fortunate to be working in an industry which is my passion.”

Mar’s story was part of the Oceania Inspirational Women’s autobiography. This is a collection of stories of Oceania women who have made a difference in physical education and sports and was produced by Janice Crosswhite of Australia.

“I’m humbled to be included in this collection of stories of outstanding sportswomen who have excelled in their sports and their stories are inspiring.

“FASANOC’s core business is Team Fiji.  In assisting our national federations develop their athletes with a view of ensuring that the best athletes represent Fiji, we encourage programmes that are athlete focussed, gender balanced and inclusive.

“More and more we are bringing about changes and making a difference in the area of using sports as a tool for development.  Our Sports Training and Outreach Programme (STOP) use sport champions to advocate on the prevention of HIV/AIDs and NCDs and STOP has reached the lives of not only our athletes but also the community at large.”

Mar said the Women in Sports initiatives have faced challenges when they enter the field of man.

“I have been fortunate in experiencing a pathway that has been relatively free of the traditional challenges faced by many women.  On a personal level I was encouraged as an athlete and have been well-supported as a sports administrator.  My challenges have been more general than gender based.”

She reiterated that administration is a challenge with sports transitioning from amateurism to professionalism. Fiji sport’s high reliance is based on volunteerism, which is now becoming a challenge.

“FASANOC is assisting national federation meet these challenges through sports administration courses and the Oceania Sports Education programme. In Fiji I think we also have the challenge of getting more women to recognise their potential in sports, whether as an athlete, official or volunteer through our Women in Sports.

“We are encouraging women to put themselves forward for positions in sports administration by providing them with opportunities to enhance their sports administration skills and knowledge. My own challenge to women in Fiji would be to grab the opportunities when they are presented. This is equally relevant for women sports reporters. They have the power to tell our stories which can hopefully move women to realise they have the potential to make a difference and create an empowering environment for girls and women.”

The book was launched in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the Olympic Games. The stories of other Fijian sportswomen of Jennifer Liew, Hamidan Bibi and the late Sophie Raddock  were also featured in the autobiography.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  paulini.ratulailai@fijisun.com.fj

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