Makelesi Tells Of Way To Top

It is very important for an ath­lete to have a strong support structure to be successful, says Makelesi Bulikiobo. The former Pacific sprint cham­pion from Nadamole village in Wai­levu East,
22 Dec 2018 11:00
Makelesi Tells Of Way To Top
Fromer Pacific sprint queen Makelesi Bulikiobo at FASANOC boardroom in Suva on December 21, 2018. Photo: Grace Narayan

It is very important for an ath­lete to have a strong support structure to be successful, says Makelesi Bulikiobo.

The former Pacific sprint cham­pion from Nadamole village in Wai­levu East, Cakaudrove has had a successful career in athletics

The 41-year old set a record in the 100metres (11.55 secs) and 200metres (23.22) at the 2007 Pacific Games which still stands.

She competed at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and four years later at the Beijing Olympics where she was a flagbearer and the only athlete to qualify on merit

The mother of three boys is now the coordinator in the Oceania Sports Education Programmes (OSEP) and also the development officer for Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Com­mittees (FASANOC).

“I work as a sports development officer and this is my second year.

“In doing that so we are able to provide better support system to the athletes,” Bulikiobo said

“Our our strategic plan under­lined in the OSEP courses to en­hance the areas of administration and coaching.

“Also, making sure Team Fiji has a better support system because we are part of the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) and through the OSEP courses which is coordinated by myself in the coun­try.

“I had been an athlete and gone through the process and systems that an athlete undergoes.

“I realised that after reaching a certain level competing on the world stage, the importance of hav­ing a good support structure be­hind you.

“That included funding that moti­vates you.”

As an Olympian, Bulikiobo had a remarkable journey where she had to balance her academic and sport­ing life accordingly.

“I started with athletics very ear­ly as well and if I am not wrong I started running since I was in Year One but didn’t take athletics seri­ously until I was in high school.

“So, when I started my high school in Lelean Memorial I participated at the Coca-Cola Games in Year 11 and Year 12 winning gold in all my events.

“It was the first time ever for a girl to win gold in the school.

“Then later I moved to Natabua High School to finish my Year 13 and won gold medal again in all my four events.

“I went to further my studies at the University of the South Pacific and hence took a break from athlet­ics because I was on scholarship as well.

“I completed my Degree, Major­ing in Education and Biology. So, after my final year I started train­ing again and competed in the 2001 Mini Games where I won 5 gold medals (100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m and 4x400m).

“And in 2002 I competed in the Commonwealth Games in Man­chester I competed in the 100 and 200m where I reached the semifi­nals.

“In 2003 I ran in the Pacific Games which was held here in Suva where I managed to get another four gold medals and disqualified in the 4x400m relay event.

“We set new records in the three events as well as my individual events too.

“And in 2007 Pacific Games I broke all those three records set which is still in place for the national re­cord.

“In the 100m it was 11.55seconds and 23.4s in the 200. But I sat a new record when I competed in Brussels in Belgium for a Grand Prix in Eu­rope where I ran 23.22s in the 200m. Also, hold the 800m record national I ran 2.08.81s in Brisbane. And all of these records still stand today.

“As an Olympian myself, I look forward to using the opportunities provided by FASANOC and IOC through my area of work to provide great opportunities for sports peo­ple to achieve their dreams.

Grateful to Dad, Coach

“My first mentor was my late fa­ther, his advice was always four things in life which is to always prioritise; education, career, health and spiritual life. As all of these things are essential and they con­nect in making your life a success­ful one.

“And the second person that I’m grateful of is my coach Lloyd Way.

“He looks after the athletes’ wel­fare.

“He is always there at the peak of your career and likewise when you are down

“So those are the two people that I really admire and grateful to have in my life.

Role of Women in Sports

“I believe that the time is develop­ing now and there is a lot of women needed in taking up leadership/ de­cision making roles.

“And I strongly feel sport is one of the areas that participation of women is growing but it’s been slow which is a positive sign.

“Through my work I am encour­aging women involved in sports to get qualified in various sports level from coaching , administrator and at different decision making roles.

“We women provide a balance ap­proach when we are involved in the decision making process because we care about details and ensure all requirements are met.”

Edited by Osea Bola


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