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Following the World Mental Day and Fiji Day celebrations, Athletics Fiji was at it again with their Kids’ Athletics Program at the annual Dash for Diabetes which was organised by the Petero Civoniceva Foundation.

The Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aims to harness the power of sport to inspire communities and transform lives by developing pathways and providing opportunities for young people to achieve their potential through sport & education; enabling them to build a better life for themselves and their communities.

The 5km dash or dash for diabetes is one of the many ways that the foundation uses to help boost their cause in Fiji. Working closely with newly appointed AF development officer Albert Miller Snr, co-founder Lauren Jagger managed to finally get AF on board this year (2017) after two failed appearance in the past two years of the annual dash.

The day was nothing short of a typical Fiji Saturday morning with clear skies and a radiant sun that brought out the vibrant colors of the surroundings especially the colors of the Kids’ Athletics kit, not only did it attracted the young ones but it also drew the attention of the the ever so curious adults who, by the look of their outfits, had recently been bitten by the “health & fitness movement” disease.

However despite the innovative Formula 1 style set up, the Vortex became the most popular choice for many and soon enough the whole baseball boys team that were there to volunteer their time were set up in two teams across the width of the rugby field from each other tossing both Vortex, back and fourth, competing to see who could throw the best spiral.

AF is looking forward to its Kids’ Athletics Facilitators Course on November 2nd and 3rd that will be facilitated by none other than Albert Miller Snr.

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This year’s World Mental Health Day fell on 10th October which just so happened to be Fiji Day and so piggy backing on Fiji Table Tennis’ drive to celebrate the day with a sports day for the Special Schools around Suva, Athletics Fiji took advantage of the opportunity to also set up Kids’ Athletics alongside the tables.

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It was the first time that 2 different PSP programs teamed up to organize such an event and Athletics Fiji Development Officer Albert Miller Snr feels that it’s definitely something that could have been even bigger provided other PSP Programs came out to run their programs and if the marketing of such an event had been better organized.

Nevertheless the early downpour failed to stop kids as most of them saw it as the perfect chance to play in the rain and play they did. With shoes off and clothes dripping wet, one could not help but smile at the sheer joy that the 30 plus kids had in slipping and sliding along the various stations, even the table tennis athletes that were there to volunteer their time left the dry comfort of their tents to toss around the Vortex, which was the most popular despite it not being on the program, while the little ones continued with the 3 different stations (formula 1, med ball toss and cross hop) that were set up. There was a little setback when 2 of the Vortex got stuck in the coconut tree but thanks to Eugene, they both were retrieved at the price of a few cuts, bruises and blisters.

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Bonasere caps off Team Fiji’s participation in the sport of athletics at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games with a personal best and a 2017 number 1 national ranking.

Team training

In the final day of athletics, Adi Cakobau School senior shot putter Mereoni Bonasere putted her way to a new personal best of 12.34m, a number 1 national ranking and an 8th place finish overall in the field of 11 women.  It was in the 2nd round of throws that secured Bonasere a spot in the top 8 qualifying her for another 3 throws in the final and looked set to extend her personal best however she only managed 11.65m in her 4th round and fouled the remaining 2 throws. Nevertheless her exposure to such an event and atmosphere has motivated her to pursue her God given talent.

Yesterday was also an exciting day as Makereta Naulu, Braelynn Yee and Aaron Powell also took to the tracks in the blue ribbon events of indoor athletics, the 60m. Upfirst was Aaron Powell and he failed to dissppoint as he sprinted across the finish line 2nd in his heat, improving his 60m national record to 6.96s qualifying him for the semifinals where he finished 5th behind Samoa’s Jeremy Dodson in a time of 6.87s, a new 60m national record. Also setting a new national record was ACS high school sprint queen Makereta Naulu who finished 5th in her heat in a time of 7.69s, Braelynn too also finished 5th in a different heat in a new personal best of 7.98s.

All athletes expressed their joy, excitement and utter content in representing Fiji on an international scene but more so their performances, especially with their new indoor personal bests and 4 new indoor national records.

For results, click here.

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Eugene Vollmer for Athletics Fiji

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