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No 20-Year-Olds For Coke Games

20-year old athletes will not take part in the 2019 Coca-Cola Games at the ANZ Stadium on April 16-18. This was clarified during the zone directors meeting at the Fijian
03 Feb 2019 10:10
No 20-Year-Olds For Coke Games
Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Association general secertary Vuli Waqa in Suva on February 2, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

20-year old athletes will not take part in the 2019 Coca-Cola Games at the ANZ Stadium on April 16-18.

This was clarified during the zone directors meeting at the Fijian Teachers Association Hall in Suva yesterday.

Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics general secretary Vuli Waqa said they need to make sure the annual event was equally contested and promoting fairness in the process.

“We will not allow 20-year olds so we can be in line with the International Associa­tion of Athletics Federation (IAAF) format where the Under-18 have their own compe­tition while the U20 compete in the Open grade,”Waqa said.

“It’s only in Fiji where we are including un­der-20 in the senior grade.

“At the same time most of the schools took advantage of age groups. What happens is when a student completes his or her Year 13, some schools are holding them back just to compete in athletics.

“This has been the practice in the past where these students are called back by the school to enrol for them just to compete in the Coca-Cola Games.

“They don’t attend classes but they just trained for athletics and after the athletics season they go back home.”

Waqa said this has been happening in the past six years.

“This is unfair to other schools that sent in their 18 and 19 year- old athletes for the sen­ior division.”

BUYING ATHLETES

“Another issue is when some of these top schools buy athletes starting from sub junior to senior grade and most of these athletes do not finish the year but leave after Coke Games. This is unfair to other schools.

“We want athletes to compete in an equal playing field.”

Bua Zone director Isoa Vatucicila applaud­ed FSSA for the change.

“It’s good for us because in previous years top schools have 20-year-old athletes and it’s unfair to us. Now that the changes have been made it will be fair to all of us,” Vatucicila said.

Ovalau Zone director Naibuka Bunawa agreed with the change.

“We support the change as it is all about fairness.”

– Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

eedback: anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj



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