Story by: Leone Cabenatabua, The Fiji Sun (05/07/2017)
Photo by: The Fiji Sun (05/07/2017)
The Striders Athletics Club who once dominated Fiji and the Pacific’s middle and long distance events from 1980 to 1990 has re-established and is now affiliated with Athletics Fiji.
The club is looking at working closely with Athletics Fiji to contribute positively in helping regain Fiji’s dominance in distance running once again.
Several members of the club converged in Fiji to mark 35 years of the club’s formation, which was in 1982.
The club boasts legends of distance runners like, Binesh Prasad, Semi Vuetibau, Daven Prakash Singh, Lui Muavesi, Isireli Naikelikelivesi, Pramesh Prasad, Tony Millard, Moses Zarak Khan, Shiraaz Shah, Nadia Prasad, Salome Tabuatalei, Donna Cavuilati and Kavita Maharaj.
The club produced a long list of top distance runners who went on to represent the country at many World Cross Country Championships, World Road Relay Championships, World Cup in Walk Racing and several other internationals.
The club members took time out to meet up with several former Fiji champions who were either part or provided strong competition to the club. These are Shiri Chand ‘Mushroom’, Rohan Prasad, Bimlesh Kumar, Braeman Yee, Esala Talebula, and Makelesi Bulikiobo-Batimala during the reunion.
The backdrop of Oceania Athletics Championships and Olympic Day Run provided a perfect inspiration for club members wanting to contribute to the rebuilding process.
It had its special general meeting and elected its office bearers. The revitalised club is led by Atma Maharaj as president, who was responsible for coaching several of these top runners in that era. The club also plans to organise their own series of its signature running events starting in 2018, something that it was renowned of.
The club expects to appoint its local coordinators for various districts and centres over the next few months and start the Talent Identification programme.
Pramesh Prasad, who won three gold nedals at this year’s World Masters Games in Auckland, plans to lead the re-introduction of walk racing.
The club members will also look towards providing support structures for current athletes to help take them to the next level.