SPORTS

Heleina Tells Why Sports Tick

Lautoka coach Kamal Swamy says, they must win by 3 goals, if they are to book a quarterfinal spot
16 Feb 2019 11:53
Heleina Tells Why Sports Tick

Sprinter Heleina Young be­lieves that taking part in sports enables here to experi­ence higher state of psychological well-being when compared to wom­en that don’t play any sport.

Heleina told SUNsports that she was grateful to have attended Saint Joseph’s Secondary School.

Although the Suva-based school was not a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the Coca- Cola Games however the school have had its fair share of limelight pro­ducing top female sprinters like Pe­rina Lobendhan, Seinimili Roqica, Sisilia Seavula and with Heleina continuing on that tradition.

Heleina was dubbed Road Runner by her school mates for her quick and nimble strides that leaves eve­ryone behind in the first 40 metres.

Heleina Young

The 19-year-old also utilises her fast pace running ability on the hockey turf as she has also made it to the Fiji Women’s Junior Hockey team that participated at the Oce­ania Playoffs Championship in 2014.

She made her first internation­al debut in athletics at the 2015 Ligue De Nouvelle Caledonie D’Athletisme in Noumea, New Cal­edonia where she finished third in the Open Women’s 100m final in a time of 12.98s.

Amidst her stellar performance was at the Oceania Area Champion­ships, the 2018 Melanesian Champi­onships and an unlikely win in the 400m at the 2017 Coca-Cola Games finals.

She also clocked an impres­sive new personal best of 11.87s in the final of the intermediate girls’ 100m final last year.

That performance saw tied for second place with former Pacific Sprint queen Vaciseva Tavaga, in the All-Time list. She was ranked number 2 in the Fiji women’s 400m rankings last year after only taking up the event in 2017. Nevertheless, the quarter mile gave her stamina which in turned fused well with her natural speed. She also clocked an impressive 24.33s in the finals of the 200m at the intermediate girls’ Coca-Cola Games. Her times were much faster than the senior girls’ winner.

She was the 3rd fastest female 200m runner in the country behind Makelesi Bulikiobo and Tavaga.

Heleina Young (1)

SUN: What’s your current position? Can you give me a brief overview of what you do in your work?

HELEINA: At this point in time I’ve just completed high school and try­ing to put my entire focus on my athletics career.

SUN: What would you say most mo­tivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about? What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work? Not so much of the goals that are in your job description, but the goals you hold personally?

HELEINA: I would say seeing other young athletes competing is what inspires and motivates me a lot to continue with what I’m doing best.

And of course the God gifted tal­ent I have been given which I don’t want to waste.

My main goal right now is to keep working hard and try to challenge myself to get the A-qualifying time to qualify for the 2019 Pacific Games. Also, to become a good role model for those that want to take up athletics in the future.

SUN: Now if we can, I’d like to go way back for a little while. Where did you grow up? Countries that you have been to and what was that like?

HELEINA: I was born and bred in Suva and attended Saint Joseph’s Secondary School.

I first represented Fiji in 2015 in an open athletics championship in New Caledonia and then later in the year at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.

Two years later I competed at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas as well as the Oceania Championship.

Last year I competed in the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu.

SUN: Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life?

HELEINA: My parents are my greatest mentors in life and they have always been there for me espe­cially pushing me to continue work­ing hard in pursuing my dreams.

“Also, my team-mates who are part of the national team always chal­lenge me to keep working hard in achieving my personal best.

SUN: As an active woman involved in sports, how do you see the role of women in sports specifically in Fiji and how important is it to encourage more women taking up roles in vari­ous sporting federations?

HELEINA: I believe women play a vital role in sports.

Especially for me when I see oth­er experienced women competing alongside me, gives me a sense of hope to be like them.

And females who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self esteem and lower levels of depres­sion.

From childhood to adulthood, this is from my experience, I’ve been in­volved in sports and it has allowed me to have a more positive body im­age and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.

SUN: What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to?

HELEINA: I look forward to mak­ing the A –qualifying time and com­pete in this year’s Pacific Games and also one day represent Fiji to the Olympic Games.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: grace.narayan@fijisun.com.fj



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