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Location: Ahau Government Station, Rotuma Report by: Joji Liga, Sports Development Manager
The second Fiji National Sports Commission’s Sports Outreach program and Train the Trainer Program for the year was successfully completed at the Ahau Government Station in Rotuma on Thursday 3rd November,2016.
Six sports were part of the program in week one. These included; rugby union, weightlifting, boxing, netball, volleyball and athletics.
Participants from all seven districts in Rotuma were represented at the week-long program. These included; Motusa, Ituti’u, Oinafa, Noatau, Malha’a, Pepjei and Juju.
There are 25 registered youth clubs in Rotuma spread over the seven districts, of which 18 are currently functioning. Ministry of Youth and Sports Youth Administrator Semisi Raicebe expressed his appreciation of the commission conducting this program for the Youths in Rotuma – he views this as an opportunity to revive clubs that are not functioning. He believes sport has the potential to influence youth culture on the island. The youths on the island are disadvantaged by way of exposure to the different sports that exist in the country so the opportunity to host a sports outreach program was timely.
Participants included, youths, advisors, parents, teachers and other government workers who are based in Ahau. Interests displayed by participants reflect the desire of locals here to get first-hand information on the sport of their choice. Weight lifting attracted significant interest despite the unavailability of equipment. Some weightlifting equipment was transported from Suva for the program. Participants were introduced to the basic techniques of the sport. Weightlifting equipment and a structure to house a basic gym is probably the biggest need in sport on the island. Weightlifting Expert, Julia Timi identified a 19 year old weightlifter for further development considering the raw talent displayed by the young lad.
Boxing participants also expressed their desire to establish a boxing club on the island. Boxing Development Officer; Pauliasi Ratu was a happy man after experiencing the interest displayed at the program. There is opportunity for Fiji Amateur Boxing to follow up on the initiative and support it all the way. National Sporting Organisations that are part of the program have been encouraged to give their all in terms of promoting their sport . “You are here representing your National Federation and it is the desire of your governing body that the sport is played on the island where talent can be identified for further development.”
The schools on the island were supportive in sending teachers to attend the program. School teachers of the following schools attended the program; Motusa Primary School, Christ the King Primary School, Malha’a Primary School, Paptea District School and Rotuma High School
Teachers on the island have been coaching students in various sports. With this program they were able to upgrade themselves on the latest rules and developments in the sport. Apart from the six sports participants were also taught different sports education and sports administration topics.
Through the program convinced youths that sport should become a major part of youth club considering the impact it can make. This will mean modifying club constitutions, memberships and structures. It means expanding membership to not only cater for youths but all age categories. Provincial Administrator and District Officer, Rotuma, Niumaia Masere supports the concept and adds that sport is a critical part of youth development and it is development in itself. He will support all efforts to incorporate sport into existing structures and will work closely with the youths clubs, districts and stakeholders in Rotuma to see that this is fulfilled.
The first week of the program concluded with a sports tournament on Diwali Public Holiday. Participants planned to host this event using skills learnt from the weeklong program. Three sub-committees were formed to prepare the event; the Promotions, Marketing and Finance Sub Committee, Games Sub-Committee and Venue/Volunteers Sub-Committee. Participants joined a committee and learnt how to organise a community event using the four stages of planning, preparing, presenting and reviewing an event. Clear roles and responsibilities were defined to ensure every committee knew their areas of responsibilities well. Men, women, youths and children converged at Ahau to witness a sports tournament involving three sports; touch rugby volleyball and netball. Before the main final, there was a boxing exhibition match followed by tag rugby exhibitions for boys and girls.
The concept of a multi-sports club, something the commission is trying to promote in rural communities given the limitation in resources. This concept was better understood after participants witnessed this fun day event. Participants learnt the processes of planning, communicating, delegating and networking with other committees to run a community event. Interestingly, participants valued the importance of reviewing the event as this is often the neglected part of organising an event. It was really an enjoyable day. At the close of the tournament winners were presented with their awards and participants were awarded their Sports Outreach Certificates by the Chief Guest, PA Rotuma who officially closed the tournament and the weeklong program.
The Train the Trainer Program ran from Tuesday 1-Thursday 3 November in the second week. Rugby Union and Volleyball conducted coaching and officiating courses for 20 participants. Each club in Rotuma would now have qualified rugby and volleyball coaches and referees to coach in the community. In addition 12 participants participated Leader Program. All districts in Rotuma would now have Fitness Leaders to facilitate fitness and wellness programs on the island. The interest shown by women in attending the Fitness Leader Program was commended.
Culturally, women have a very strong influence in Rotuma and becoming recognised Fitness Leaders in the community will surely influence lifestyle and reduce NCD figures on the island through their roles as NCD Ambassadors in the community.
The two week program ended with the Fiji National Sports Commission proposing a new youth club organisation structure for the island which now expands the current youth club structure to be inclusive; meaning membership expanded beyond the youth boundaries to include, school children, adults, senior citizens, and people with special needs. The proposal was welcomed by the youth council who agreed that this was the way forward for the youths on the island considering the power of sport in influencing change.
Provincial Administrator Niumaia Masere spoke highly of the structure and assured the commission that he will push for changes in his capacity as PA to ensure all clubs on the island embrace the proposal. It is critical that youths are empowered to be drivers of change in the community.