Athletics | SPORTS

3 Days, 137 Schools, Close To 3000 Athletes

This year’s Coca-Cola Games will be the biggest so far according to the number of athletes, says Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Association secretary Vuli Waqa.
12 Aug 2022 10:52
3 Days, 137 Schools, Close To 3000 Athletes
The official lighting of the Coca-Cola Games torch by Ratu Kadavulevu School long and triple jump athlete, Vatiliai Sautonia, Adi Cakobau School athlete Mareta Lewawai, Coca- Cola Amatil general manager (Fiji)Roger Hare, Mereoni Qiaqia of ACS and Vilikesa Vonolagi of RKS at the Coca-Cola (Fiji) headquarters, Laucala Beach, Suva on August 11, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

This year’s Coca-Cola Games will be the biggest so far according to the number of athletes, says Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Association sec­retary Vuli Waqa.

Almost 3000 athletes have been confirmed to participate in the three-day of the Fiji Finals which will be on August 18-20 at the HFC Stadium, Suva.

About 137 schools are expected to be part of the Games.

Waqa said they were not strict on qualifying times as they needed more students to participate after a lapse of two years.

“Today’s (yesterday) lightning of the torch marks the beginning of the Coke Games,” Waqa said.

“It looks like the Coke Games 2022 is looking to be the biggest ever based on the number of athletes. Normally the numbers used to be 2700 for most of the years, but this is the first time the numbers is slightly is going to be 3000 alto­gether.

“We thought it was going to be just a small number, unfortunately it has grown to an unbelievable number that is going to make it the biggest ever in the history of Coke Games.

“Preparations have been well, we have taken all our programmes to the printery and expect it to be ready by Monday.”

Waqa was surprised when asked if some schools have pulled out.

“All I know that some schools are coming in with fewer numbers of athletes than they have before,” he said.

“Team that are pulling out alto­gether, I don’t know.”

Tickets Refund

Almost $100,000 has been reim­bursed to ticket holders from 2021. Ticket holders are encouraged to present their tickets and receipts to be refunded.

It will be refunded at the Games head office at 45 McGregor Road, Suva.

“Our first priority is to make sure that they do come with their re­ceipts,” Waqa said.

“At the same time, most of them have lost their receipts; we ask them to bring their tickets and we will verify with our receipt book and if your name is there with the right ID then we will certainly re­imburse the buyers.

“We have already reimbursed close to $100,000and only a couple of thousands that are left.”

Meanwhile, two new events will be introduced this year; 1500 me­tres in the sub junior boys and girls which was an open event in the past years.

Island Zone

Waqa has confirmed that the Is­land zone competition will be held on Tuesday at the HFC Bank Sta­dium at 3pm.

Adi Maopa Secondary School from Vanuabalavu get in on Tues­day.

Torch Relay

There will be no torch relay around Viti Levu and Vanua Levu schools this year.

This was confirmed by Coca-Cola (Fiji) marketing manager Law­rence Tikaram during the light­ing of the the Powerade Coca-Cola Games Torch at the Coca-Cola Amatil factory, in Laucala Beach, Suva, yesterday.

“This year has been an unusual year, we have not been able to take the torch to the places we wanted to.

“It’s symbolic that we have the event because we want to encour­age wider participation, the light­ing of the flames symbolises our resilience as a nation, as people, athletes, students and parents who make Coca-Cola Games as our hope.

“It’s important for us to spread the message of the Coke Games especially to recognise and reward our athletes who are very instru­mental in the preparation of the Games themselves through the coaches, teachers and old scholars.

“Hopefully next year when we get back to normal school calendar, we will definitely take it out to a much wider audience.

“For many of the athletes the torch relay is their Coca-Cola Games, it is the closest they can get to it through mind and spirit.”

The last torch relay was done in 2019 before the Games was can­celled the last two years due to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the grandstand tick­ets went on sale since yesterday at the Games headquarters in Suva.


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