SPORTS

Game On, Athletes Challenged

The 5th Oceania Athletes Forum got underway at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour in Deuba, yesterday.
23 Sep 2022 11:15
Game On, Athletes Challenged
Participants of the Oceania Athletes Forum at the Pearl Resort on September 22, 2022. Photo: ONOC Media

The 5th Oceania Athletes Fo­rum got underway at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Har­bour in Deuba, yesterday.

Athletes met for the first time in three years and received the chal­lenge to take stock of their chal­lenges, strategise, and return with action plans to lead their national level athletes’ Commissions back being active.

In a rousing challenge, Oceania Na­tional Olympic Committees (ONOC) secretary general Ricardo Blas chal­lenged athletes to ‘equate this forum to the starting block’ and ‘think of this meeting as the racetrack, the open field, the sandpit, the mat, or weights’ they as athletes faced in competition.

Converting the forum into a field of play and competition, Blas re­minded athletes ‘the last few years challenged the world and the Pacific as a people and Ocean– and that the pursuit of sport must be with a full understanding of the context is­landers live in, which is at the front­lines of many issues such as climate change, environment, and globalisa­tion.’

Blas challenged athletes to con­sider the ancestral legacy that all Oceania athletes connect to – that they stand on the shoulders of great people, including sportspeople who built sport with little none of the facilities, infrastructure, coaching support, funding, sport science and competition available to current athletes.

What Tokyo 2020 means and build­ing beyond

Blas said, two years ago Tokyo 2020 was delayed by a year because of the global COVID-19 pandemic but one year later Oceania joined the world in Tokyo to give one of its best per­formances yet.

“The support to the Pacific islands was more pronounced as it took an airline charter to ensure all island athletes made it to the Games and back and most of us gave our best performances yet,” he said.

Acknowledgement

Blas also acknowledged the sup­port of ONOC president Robin Mitchell and executives, Interna­tional Olympic Committee presi­dent Thomas Bach, the Olympic Solidarity Programme, and in par­ticular, outgoing chair of the ONOC Athletes’ Forum, Karo Lelai of Pap­ua New Guinea who led athletes of Oceania and ANOC through a global pandemic.

Programme ahead

The 5th Oceania Athletes’ Forum continues today and ends on Satur­day.

Today features the ONOC Athletes’ Commission elections where ath­letes will get to exercise their inde­pendence in voting their choice of representatives to lead them in the current quadrennium.

Story By: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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