$500k for Team Fiji

Team Fiji to the Pacific Games chef de mission Patrick Bower gives an update on the Team Fiji preapration to members of the media as FASANOC chief executive officer, Lorraine Mar listens on during a press conference at the FASANOC building in Suva on Monday, June 17, 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) chief executive officer, Lorraine Mar expects that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the financial and logistical arrangements for Team Fiji’s preparations and participation at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be severely impacted.

The Fiji National Sports Commission recently informed FASANOC of an approved grant of $500,000 for preparations and participation for Birmingham 2022.

Mar admitted the pandemic had taken its toll on Fiji’s build-up to the games as it had for Tokyo 2020, but was hopeful of success in the English city.

“Financially, it will be a challenge and we will be holding talks soon with national federations whose sports are on the program” Mar said.

“This is the Commonwealth Games, an international event and we’re not going there just to participate, obviously we want to be competitive.”

Mar said strict measures were likely to be in place locally and at the games to limit the risk of transmission of the virus.

“We will need to make sure that proper counter measures and protocols are followed and Team Fiji has learnt a lot from the Tokyo 2020 experience. Pages will be taken out of the IOC Tokyo 2020 playbook as well as the Team Fiji standard operating procedures.”

Fiji enjoyed its most successful Commonwealth Games since Auckland 1950 at the last edition in 2018. Team Fiji sent 96 athletes to the Gold Coast, with Eileen Cikamatana winning a weightlifting gold medal in the women’s -90 kilogram division, its first gold at the games since Manchester 2002 where Naca Qerewaqa won a gold medal in judo.

The men’s rugby 7s team clinched silver, while two bronze medals were won by weightlifting’s Apolonia Vaivai and boxing’s Winston Hill.

They took Fiji’s overall Commonwealth Games medal tally to four gold, four silver and eight bronze medals.

The men’s rugby 7s team, whose best performance has been a silver medal at a Commonwealth Games, have qualified for Birmingham 2022.

The Games will be held from July 28 to August 8, 2022, and will be packed with about 4500 athletes from 72 Commonwealth nations and territories participating, as well as a six-month cultural festival to take place across the West Midlands, making Birmingham 2022 the largest sporting and cultural event to take place in the UK since the 2012 London Olympics.

Team Fiji will soon be making announcements on the appointment of the chef de mission for Birmingham 2022, and the upcoming games in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

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