Return of the Striders Club

Story by: Leone Cabenatabua, The Fiji Sun (05/07/2017)

Photo by: The Fiji Sun (05/07/2017)

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.