Fiji Sports | SPORTS

Mazey: Quality Over Quantity

Fiji National Sports Commission (FNSC) executive chairman Peter Mazey is calling for a complete review by national sports organisations (NSOs) on who is eligible to attend major sporting events like
06 Oct 2021 09:30
Mazey: Quality Over Quantity
Fiji National Sports Commission executive chairman Peter Mazey.

Fiji National Sports Commission (FNSC) executive chairman Peter Mazey is calling for a complete review by national sports organisations (NSOs) on who is eligible to attend major sporting events like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Cup events.

SUNsports interviewed Mazey on FNSC’s expectations when grants are given to NSOs to assist their athletes’ preparations for the Commonwealth, Olympics and other international events.


QUESTION (Q): What measures can be taken to guarantee medal winning athletes representing Fiji in future Commonwealth Games and Olympics?
PETER MAZEY: We believe it is timely for a complete review by all our national sporting organisations (NSOs) as to who is eligible to attend the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and respective World Cups.

After the 2016 Olympics all NSOs were requested to submit their four-year development plan to ensure that only those who had qualified can to attend the Tokyo Olympics.

Fiji Rugby has clearly shown what a planned approach can do in ensuring success at the highest level.

The men’s success in 2016 Olympics and then the women’s and men’s in 2021 Olympics is due to their planning.


This same sort of planning is available for our individual athletes but in most cases is not taken up by the NSOs.

We must stop seeing the Commonwealth Games and even the Olympics as part of development pathways they must be seen as the pinnacle in any athlete’s achievements.

The development pathway should be the Pacific Games and Oceania events, where athletes can experience high performance on their way to qualifying for major events.

We should set new parameters for athletes to represent Fiji especially at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. It is timely to ensure that we look at only attending with quality and not quantity.


Sports is now a business and must be run as a business.

This starts with the NSO. Some NSOs will never aim to achieve this level, for those that show they have the potential should produce the strategic professional environment to allow their athletes to excel.

We have to get a return of investment as in business.

For an athlete to excel, they will need the expert high performing support team, so the onus is on NSO and individuals to create the environment to enable the up skilling of support teams as well.

Funding grants are available especially for those NSOs who have programmes in place to nurture talented athletes go through the right pathway training to ensure that they join the elite class.

Hence we need change in the mindset.


Q: Is it fair to send non-qualified athletes to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham?
MAZEY: I do not agree that we should be sending any non-qualified athletes to the Commonwealth, we need to be serious, as it is not a development pathway event.

At the 2020 Olympics some non-qualified were given universality spots, athletes who did qualify had expressed their disappointment that this occurred as they had had to work hard for their qualification.

Most countries now only sending qualified athletes.

NSOs here need to seriously look at what their athletes will achieve, they must think if funding can better go to a long term goal, they must plan their approach and ensure they don’t just go for the sake of going but send athletes knowing they have a chance in getting a medal.

Perhaps our team to the Commonwealth Games next year it should only be our 2020 Olympic medal winners.


Q: How can the Sports Commission address this issue in terms of the finance?
MAZEY: Investments made by the Commission is through Government grants.

This must all be justified, we have to show the achievements and when we don’t then the funding is minimised.

The Commission must relook at the funding provided and be more strategic, we will have to relook at the eligibility requirements and maybe set a minimum standard for NSO’s to meet to qualify for funding for major overseas events.


Q:What are other alternatives?
MAZEY: Commission funding to the Commonwealth Games this year has been reduced due to the economic situation caused by COVID-19; initially we were advised of a proposed team to the Commonwealth Games of 147 people (athletes and officials).

If the funding provided doesn’t cover that then it will fall on the athletes and NSOs to raise funding through sponsorship.

Again sponsorship is reduced due to COVID and sponsors are no different they want to see a return on their investment so again it requires a rethink.


Q: Do you think we have athletes that can win medals at the Commonwealth Games?
MAZEY: We do have athletes that can win medals at the Commonwealth Games and not just in rugby sevens – they need more support from their NSOs and it may be too soon for them to participate as they are developing.

In the funding round this year only rugby applied to the Commission for grants to prepare for the Commonwealth Games they have received a grant but no funds have been provided for other sports as it was not requested.


Q: If we can, then who is responsible for making this sensible call that saves time and most importantly money?
MAZEY: Team Fiji to the Commonwealth Games as with the Pacific Games and Olympics is the call of FASANOC and the decision will have to be made by them.

The Commission has provided FASANOC with a grant of $500,000 for the team to participate. The answer to this question can only be answered by FASANOC.


Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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