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Rugby A Threat To Athletics: Miller

Athletics Fiji is finding it hard to retain top female athletes following the popularity of rugby on the local front.
11 May 2022 10:01
Rugby A Threat To Athletics: Miller
Albert Miller

Athletics Fiji is finding it hard to retain top female athletes following the popularity of rugby on the local front.

National coach Albert Miller said the latest to have opted for the rugby boots instead of running spikes is former secondary schools top female athlete Younis Bese.

“We can’t really hold them because unless we can offer them something better then they will stay,” Miller said.

“Athletics Fiji needs to look at offering these athletes scholarships, just local scholarships so that we can hold on to them,” he said.

“Otherwise the opportunity somebody shows them the money they will jump to the next sport. Nowadays it is all about bread and butter issue.”

Bese who was in the national squad preparing for the Pacific Mini Games later this year withdrew to join the Rooster Fijian Drua for their debut SuperW competition and tri-series with the Wallaroos and Japan.

While the Fijian Drua successfully claimed the coveted SuperW trophy the side lost both their matches against Japan and Wallaroos 14-28, 19-36 respectively.

In the abbreviated code, more female athletes are following suit with a few are in the Fijiana sevens extended squad.

The list includes Laisana Moceisawana and the latest inclusion is former St Joseph’s Secondary School sprinter Heleina Young who has been included in the Commonwealth Games squad.

Young who was awarded a Oceania Athletics Association (OSS) three-year scholarship in 2020 to study at the Griffith University in Queensland has been turning heads with her sterling rugby performance.

Young, a dual national rep after representing Fiji in hockey and athletics is well on her way to being a triple national with her included in the rugby squad.

“Another thing we are doing is to strengthen the Fiji University Sports Association (FUSA) games. We need to strengthen athletics in there.

“They (FUSA) have always emphasized on the main sports like rugby, netball and volleyball. That’s what we need to encourage.”



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