Letters To The Editor, 18th, April, 2018

Commonwealth Games  Simon Hazelman, Savusavu Since we started competing in the Common­wealth Games way back in 1938, Fiji has won four gold, five silver, and 10 bronze, a total of
18 Apr 2018 11:00
Letters To The Editor, 18th, April, 2018

Commonwealth Games 

Simon Hazelman, Savusavu

Since we started competing in the Common­wealth Games way back in 1938, Fiji has won four gold, five silver, and 10 bronze, a total of 19 medals.

The medals were won across eight sport­ing disciplines, and of the 19, Fiji won four medals in 7s rugby, four medals in boxing, three medals in field events, three medals in weightlifting, two medals in judo, two med­als in lawn bowls, and one medal in the track events.

Besides Mataika Tuicakau’s gold and silver in shot put and discus at the 1950 games, Luke Tunabuna’s silver in javelin it the 1950 games, and Saimoni Tamani’s bronze medal in the 400m at the 1970 games, Fiji has per­formed poorly at both track and field events at all other Commonwealth competitions.

Fiji has two synthetic rubber tracks, one in Suva and the other in Lautoka.

These two venues also provide field event facilities.

So why is it that we continue to fail in the track and field events?

As a matter of fact, Fiji has never won a track or field event medal since Saimoni Tamani’s bronze in 1970, 48 years ago!

Ever since we’ve only won medals in rugby, boxing, weightlifting and judo! Saimoni Tamani’s bronze, by the way, is the only medal we’ve ever won in a track event.

We have the facilities and we sure have the natural ability to become great successful track and field athletes, so the question is why not?

Why do we continue to fall short? Why isn’t it working? Why aren’t we improving? Who is responsible for the lacklustre performanc­es? How can we become more competitive? Who can make us become more competitive?

Current administrators and trainers need to make a thorough overall assessment of the situation before deciding how best we can become competitive at future games.

I believe the solution is a simple one, and that is to bring in the professionals.

Domestically we have shown that we don’t have the expertise to do the job.

Too overrated and under-performed! May God bless every one of you and your families. in Melbourne. Not forgetting Kama Kishore and all our brothers and sisters in Australia. God bless.

Highs and Lows of Games

Barry Whiteside, Suva

I write regarding the article by your Sports Editor, Leone Cabenatabua, in the Fiji Sun today (17/4) which he views as an “analysis” of the highs and lows of Fiji’s performances at the Commonwealth Games.

In his sum up (although disturbingly there was no real analysis) of the “lows” he made a flippant comment suggesting the Badminton and Squash teams were there for a “picnic trip” and questioned whether preparation was ever monitored.

How totally disheartening this was for our players to read such a shallow and sarcastic statement. I can speak for Badminton and I could have told Leone (if he only bothered to ask) about the training journey our players undertook over the past year, all as amateurs holding down jobs or studying. But with the burning ambition to play in what for them would be the highest level of competition to which they could aspire.

I could also have told Leone of the impor­tance of nurturing players and “growing” them for future competitions with multiple medals at stake – like the 2019 Pacific Games.

I could have told him about our various training camps in Fiji with our coach Brent Munday, and in Auckland with Badminton Oceania, and the programmes set by Brent and how this was monitored by Fiji Badmin­ton based on our agreed Selection Criteria submitted to FASANOC.

I could have reminded him about the bronze medal our women proudly won for their country in February at the Oceania Teams Championships in Auckland. This performance did not come out of “thin air” but through hard work by the players and as part of their Commonwealth Games prepa­ration. I believe the Fiji Sun published the pictures and congratulated the players.

Without sounding boring, I could have told Leone of our joy, as a minor sport in Fiji, to finally be getting good recognition and fund­ing support from the Government through Peter Mazey and his team at the Fiji Sports Commission. Our gratitude for this funding and that from all our other sponsors and sup­porters is immense.

Badminton is a spectacular sport and everyone can play it. I could have told Leone that such funding is critical to sending our elite players overseas for further training and competition. Just like any other sport we cannot sit at home and play each other and expect to be competitive at the highest levels. Such funding is also critical for development at the “grass roots” level and our future aspirations in the sport.

Coming back to the Commonwealth Games, I could have told him about the worry and the nervousness of several of our players when told they were drawn to play the top ranked players from India, Singapore and other seeded nations – one opponent was ranked at number 3 in the world and re­cently was as high as number 1 (it’s just like Suva drawn against Real Madrid and I mean no disrespect to football fans, for Suva is my home town as well!). Despite this we did have 2 singles matches, 1 doubles match and 1 mixed doubles match in the second round with another mixed pair just missing out.

Before closing I just wanted to mention that in Badminton there are no “personal bests” like in swimming or athletics. You either win or you lose – simple as that. In our case at the Games we lost more than we won. The players could not claim a “personal best”. They can only say they “performed their best” at the level of skill they have built over the years,

So do Leone’s comments hurt and dis­hearten our players? I would like to hope they don’t for the future of our sport in Fiji. But of course they do. Hopefully the play­ers rise above the “wishiwashiness” of the “Analysis” and set their sights on the 6 gold medals up for grabs in Samoa next year. The Commonwealth Games has truly been a tremendous learning curve for them and the experience of losing must be seen as a posi­tive in going forward. We must learn from our losses to win. I am proud of our team and have great respect for their dedication.

I just want to close by thanking all our Fiji athletes and officials for the tremendous show of pride you displayed for our country Fiji, at the Games.

That is what it is about and I was so glad to witness it first- hand.

Go Fiji!

Role model

Narayan Reddy, Lautoka

Our Police officers and teachers are the two professions that our society looks up to.

Parliamentarians are our representatives.

I often talk to my children about our repre­sentatives in Parliament. I tell my kids that the parliamentarians are our role models.

The other day my son was watching the news in the afternoon and a section of parlia­mentary debate was shown.

My son gave me a bad look and pointed to the TV screen and asked me: “Dad are they our role models with that kind of behaviour?

I couldn’t answer him. I believe our par­liamentarians should behave in a manner where they can be seen as role models.

Women’s silence

Lanieta Laveta, Khalsa Road

As a woman and a concerned community member, I would like to show my apprecia­tion and support to the statement by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa on allow­ing women to speak in village meetings.

Remaining silent during this kind of meet­ings, is a barrier that women faced until to date. Fiji, a nation rich in traditions and customs, has to accept changes to some traditional regulations apart from allowing women to speak during village meetings.

Our Fijian democracy has permitted women to run for elections and be members of Parliament.

Speaking freely in Parliament to move our country forward benefits government progress. For this reason women should be allowed to speak in village meetings as well for the benefit of their own communities.

Women have dwelled and progressed in the family environment, business management and education fields.

Therefore allowing them to express their thoughts and recommendations during vil­lage meetings can be helpful, exclusively in the decision making of elders. Particularly, voicing issues from what they have experi­enced. I urge all concerned citizens to ignore the perception that when women voice their opinions they defame men’s leadership.

We are living in a democratic society so it is vital to look at things in a democratic way that will bring better relationships among citizens, most of all in making our country free from inequality. Women can do what man can do

Feedack: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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