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Fiji Sports Award - 2009

February 26, 2010       National Gymnasium, Suva

Chairman, Fiji Sports Council Board;
Mr Elton Flatley;
Miss South Pacific;
Sports Nominee;
The Sponsors;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good evening, Ni sa bula vinaka and Namaste

I have much pleasure in welcoming you all most warmly this evening to the 2009 Bank f the South Pacific Fiji Sports Council Sports Awards.  But on all our behalf – that is for those of us who live here, I bid an especial welcome to our Australian guest, Elton Flatley. Good to have you here, mate.

At this juncture, we should pause a while in a moment of silence to pay respect to three of our country’s well known athletes who passed away this month – Viliame Takayawa Senior, the first recipient of Fiji’s Sports Awards for Judo in 1981 – Sunia Cama – former Heavyweight Boxing Champion of Fiji and the South Pacific – Marika Naivalu – the Fiji and also the South Pacific Heavyweight Boxing Champion for 7 years – as well as to those sportsmen and women who recently passed away.

Can I ask you all to be upstanding? Thank you.

May their souls rest in peace?

At the outset, let me first congratulate the men and women selected from their respective sports for their achievements in 2009. Fiji is proud of you dedication and determination which has enabled you to compete amongst and against the nest at national, regional and international competitions and therefore solidifying Fiji’s positional globally in sports.

We know that you will continue to do your best, even if you do not win any awards tonight.

Sports has long been recognized as an integral part of human life and an important tool for bringing people together in competition, in socializing and in developing people.  In our Fiji, sports provide an common ground where our people interact freely.

Sports bring everyone together and cut across all barriers of political beliefs, ethnicity, colour, religion and gender. Sports are one of the few forces which generate a strong feeling of national pride and a common national identity, as Fijians.

In addition, we have many elite athletes who have excelled on the world stage, prominent amongst them are the world-renowned professional golfer, Vijay Singh and the 7s player, Waisele Serevi, who together with the others provide role models in particular for the youths of Fiji .

“Sports for all” forms the basis of Government’s policy on sports development. The Department of Youth and Sports endeavours to increase the number of active sports participants, especially hose taking part in sports for recreation.

We should aim at being a nation of participators not just being spectators. The Ministry of Health also fosters this aim. But sports are more than just winning a game.

Sports are played by set rules – it demands discipline from each individual and it fosters teamwork irrespective of the different individual background in a team.

All of you sportsmen and women here tonight are all national role models in Fiji through your participation and achievement in sports.  I challenge you all to continue being role models to the children of Fiji. As role models you must portray the virtues of a good sportsperson both on and off the field.

Remember that good sportsmanship reflects on your character and it will help you in the long run.  Remember some of these words which you have heard before and will continue to hear during your sports career.

1)    The “Golden Rule” – do unto others as you would have others do unto you;
2)    Have a thorough understanding and an appreciation of the rules of your sports or specialty;
3)    Take responsibility for your actions;
4)    Recognize and appreciate good performances, especially by the opponent;
5)    Exhibit respect for the officials; and remember the referees or umpires decision is final.

In conclusion, I want to say something very simple and straight forward about all sports – and most importantly, ethics.  The wish, the urge, and the desire to win is born in the majority of us.  It starts from the playgrounds at school.

The will to win is a matter of training – the focus, the hard yards, the no pain no gain attitude prepares you to reach your goal.

But the manner of winning is a matter of honour.  Win well and enjoy – but do not forget the loser.

Ladies and Gentlemen, friends, I extend my congratulations to all the winners tonight but I wish you all, the best in you future sporting careers.

Enjoy the evening and let us all pay tribute to our country’s sports achievers for their sterling performances in 2009.

Thank you, Vinaka vakalevu and Dhanyavaad