SPORTS

Try New Sports. Set Realistic Targets

Over the years, we managed three medals-a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and a gold and bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, all thanks to rugby.
22 Aug 2021 17:26
Try New Sports. Set Realistic Targets
Team Fiji shooter Glen Kable during a competition in Northern New South Wales in Australia for the NSW title. Kable was the last shooter to represent Fiji in international events. Photo: Manning River Times

While it’s still fresh and a constant topic of dis­cussion, we need to talk about it instead of allowing it to gather dust by sweeping it under the carpet.

There is a lot to learn from Team Fiji’s participation at the 2020 To­kyo Olympics- a time to savour for some, an unforgettable experience for the many and merely partici­pating for sake of it for others.

We must start anew and plan now to be really competitive and fare better at the 2024 Olympics in Par­is and beyond.

It’s time we do away with sports merely competing for the sake of it.

German philosopher/poet Goe­the once said that it matters less where are going but in direction are we heading.

It’s time we take a new direction, since our first Olympics at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Over the years, we managed three medals-a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and a gold and bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, all thanks to rugby.

We need to compete in the sport that we are strong at and that’s why we mine gold and bronze in rugby.

It’s hard to draw comparisons or find a parallel in other sports.

Therefore to be realistic, it’s to­tally unbecoming that we continue to send athletes to the four-yearly global showpiece knowing fully that they would be outplayed, out­smarted and humiliated.

Perhaps our realistic target is to prepare for the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.

Netball Australia is pushing for the sport’s inclusion in Brisbane and this could be a long- term tar­get for our Fijian Pearls.

Likewise, our football teams need to get domestic competitions run­ning properly to be competitive on the regional and international front. Remember they were sound­ly beaten at the 2016 Rio Games by Korea, Germany and Mexico.

Athletics Fiji needs to set the bar high and start training young ath­letes now for the future and like­wise Fiji Swimming.

So what’s the alternative? Well we can focus on other sports.

Golf

At the moment, former world number one Vijay Singh is the only one qualified since he took part in the PGA Tour.

He rejected taking part at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2020 Tokyo Olympics but we can ask him to help out in grooming budding golf­ers most notably local professional Sam Lee who is playing in a Mini Tour in the U.S.A.

Singh may be delighted to coach, if invited, to give back to his birth nation. Natadola Bay Champion­ship Golf Course, which he de­signed, is an ideal training ground.

Golfer Sam Lee

Golfer Sam Lee

Target shooting, archery

We have a world-class military force that serves at United Nations peacekeeping projects in the Mid­dle East and all over the world.

Perhaps it’s worth investing in sending teams to target shooting events or archery where our sol­diers are good at.

We need to make it count by send­ing athletes to international com­petitions.

Otherwise it continues to be a wasteful exercise with hardly any­one benefiting from it.

Four new sports skateboarding, surfing, karate and sports climb­ing were introduced at the Tokyo Olympics.

Perhaps our athletes can have a crack and who knows, they might make a difference.



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