SPORTS

Big Games Plan

Fiji could potentially host international athletics competitions in future, says Geoff Gardner. The Oceania Athletics president said the proposed series circuit would include participation of athletics powerhouse China and other
27 Jun 2017 11:11
Big Games Plan
Australian based sprinter Toea Wisil trains at the ANZ Stadium on June 23rd, 2017. Photo:Jone Luvenitoga

Fiji could potentially host international athletics competitions in future, says Geoff Gardner.

The Oceania Athletics president said the proposed series circuit would include participation of athletics powerhouse China and other Asian countries. This is being discussed by Oceania Athletics, Asia Athletics and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Gardner said Fiji was more than capable of hosting international events that did not only have to include track and field.

“There is absolutely no reason why Fiji cannot host future events,” Gardner said.

“We are trying to work on getting a circuit going in Oceania in conjunction with Asia so that there are some pathways for our emerging athletes.

“This will give them a really good level of competition and who knows what that is going to bring.

“We are working with Asia and the IAAF and trying to work out just how we are going to make that work. And if we make it work, places like Fiji, whether it is here in Suva or Lautoka, they will be ideal venues to conduct legs of a series.

“This will be bigger than the Pacific Games, Mini Games, Regional Championships and Oceania Championships and it doesn’t always have to be on the track.

“Fiji is a wonderful environment for cross country events like road running or race walking.

“So it is open to Fiji to say ‘we can do this’ and we will offer all the support in the world.

“If Fiji wants to do an out-of-stadium championship, we will try and assist where we can and we would welcome Fiji putting its hand up to want to go further than track and field.

“With that said, we don’t want to make sure that everything is in Fiji, we recognise the importance of these things moving around the Pacific and also in Australia and New Zealand.

“But I think it is really important that Fiji put its hand up because we know Fijians can host big athletics events and do it well.”

With the Oceania Athletics Area Championships set to start tomorrow at the ANZ Stadium, Gardner said such competitions provides encouragement for young athletes to go further and aim for bigger competitions.

“Athletes want to go to the Olympics or other big competitions but certainly this is a starting point for them,”Gardner said.

“It will also be a good measure for them to see whether they have got what it takes to want to go further.

“This is a stepping stone for some and for others this will be as far as they go but that is the unfortunate reality of the sport.

“But for many others it is just enough to give them a push to go further and do better.”



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