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Fiji special to me: Gould

Olympic gold medalist and swimming legend, Shane Gould has big plans to give back to the Fijian community. She is in the country as the special guest for the Ocean
23 Aug 2019 14:14
Fiji special to me: Gould
From left; Tourism Fiji Events Manager Chad Eastgate, Milton Nelms, Shane Gould and Ocean Swim Fiji Events Manager Scott Rice at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau on August 22,2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Olympic gold medalist and swimming legend, Shane Gould has big plans to give back to the Fijian community.

She is in the country as the special guest for the Ocean Swim 2019 event which gets underway today at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa.

“It’s very dear to my heart. I always come back to Fiji as it’s a special place for me. I was very pleased when asked if I wanted to support this swim event,” the 62-year old said.

Interestingly she started her swimming career at the Nadi Airport Swimming Club while her dad worked at the Nadi International Airport.

Representing Australia, she became the only female swimmer to win five individual medals in a single Olympics – Munich in 1972.

The Ocean Swim Fiji event will be donating more than $25OO to the Shane Gould Swimming Project – which helps to fund water education of Fijian villages to buy gear.

This year’s swimmers and attendees will bring their own swim gear and reading glasses to be donated to villages in Nadroga province.

“We’ve trained five people to be able to run the swimming and water safety clinics. We don’t need a swimming pool, we just need water.

“Ocean Swim Fiji is very generous to  the cause in giving back to the community.”

Ocean Swim Fiji Event Director, Scott Rice said: “It’s the second year of Ocean Swim in Fiji. We learned a lot from initially doing an event outside New Zealand for the first time.

The New Zealand event management company said this year’s event was important to see how they could maintain the numbers, and grow the interest.

“We’ve seen some good growth over the years that we are not only helping to positively impact the sort of economic situation here in Fiji and also working with our very special guest Shane on a connection with the Fijian communities and the event having a positive impact on people’s awareness of water safety in swimming as well.

“We have about a 195 supporters and swimmers and of that number about 160 are swimming either 1 kilometre or 3 kilometres.,” he added.

Rice added that about 45 per cent are Kiwis, 45 per cent are from Australia and 10 per cent from Singapore, U.S.A and other parts of the world.

“It’s about an increase of about 18 per cent. A lot of people that travel to the event but enjoy themselves at the resort and they don’t attend the event,” he said.

There are nine international event crew and also locals including lifeguards and medics that attend the events, a good practice for them for water safety.

Edited by Osea Bola

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