Speaking Notes for the Itatau by Team Fiji to the 2017 Pacific Mini Games
November 22, 2017 Boron House, Suva
The Chef De Mission, Mr. Wayne O’Connor
The General Managers Mr. Christopher Yee and Mr. Joseph Rodan
The Medical Commissioner, Ms. Sharleen Nand
The Manager of the Fiji Rugby Men’s Sevens, Mr. Mark Drown
The Participating Team Coaches
Reverend Ilaitia Sivati Tuwere
Players and Officials
Members of the Media
Ladies and gentlemen
Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
I wish to firstly thank Reverend Tuwere for the inspirational spiritual message.
For indeed, our Fiji Bati Team to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup demonstrated just how critical it is to have a solid spiritual foundation. This not only helps the individual, but it importantly keeps the entire team focused on the mission at hand.
Two things stood out from the Fiji Bati: the first is that they are the only team in the World Cup to sing a biblical hymn before any match, and the second is that they dedicate the honour and glory of a solid performance to God! And didn’t they do well at the quarter-finals last weekend?
Reverend Tuwere was kind enough to join me for the iTatau by the Fiji Bati Team right here at the same spot where we are this morning!
And today, despite the very wet conditions, I am honoured to receive on behalf of Government and the people of Fiji, our national representatives to the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu.
I welcome you all and I wish to convey the Nation’s congratulations to each one of you for making it into the national team for your respective sports.
I am informed that the Mini-Games is an opportunity to test the skills of our young and upcoming athletes.
It is nonetheless a high-level competition because you are competing with some of the best athletes in the Oceania region.
I am also advised that you are one of the largest Fijian sporting contingents comprising both youth and senior athletes to depart our shores.
This is a sign of progress and I acknowledge and commend the work of all the sporting organisations that are able to put in place an appropriate development structure for the athletes. This should auger well for each sport and for the nation as a whole.
This morning, I am particularly pleased to know that we have in the team some athletes with special abilities. I warmly congratulate you all.
You certainly remind the nation that disability should never be used as an excuse to living a very active and equally fulfilling life. Vinaka vakalevu.
I am aware that for some sports like Beach Volleyball, the Pacific Mini Games is a qualifying event for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
I wish you the very best in your effort to qualify for the Commonwealth Games that will be held at the Gold Coast in Australia in April 2018 – less than six months from now.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that our beloved nation is currently basking in glory in various spheres of life including especially in world leadership and in sports.
Our Prime Minister, Honourable Voreqe Bainimarama with a dedicated team from Government, the private sector and civil society organisations, have just returned home last night after very successfully leading the world’s climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany as President of COP23.
Our nation’s goal is to help save humanity and Planet Earth from the effects of climate change and to leave no one behind irrespective of where one resides.
I mention this to you because I want you to know that you are not alone in your efforts to do well in sports for yourselves, your families and our nation.
Our Presidency of COP23 demonstrates that despite being a Small Islands Developing State, Fiji is successfully taking bigger challenges and punching above its weight in forming partnerships for action against the impact of climate change.
And our delegation has returned with significant plans that will ultimately benefit our environment, our children and our nation.
I wish to recall once again the performance of the Fiji Bati against New Zealand – a Tier One Nation.
We will all agree that last Saturday’s game is going down in the books of history as one of our best performances. Our boys showed the world that we cannot be undermined in any endeavour where we have put our heart, mind, soul and trust in.
Similarly, our Flying Fijians Rugby Union Team almost beat the Irish Team, which only a week earlier had thrashed the Springboks from South Africa.
We also fared well in the beauty with a purpose contest where our very own Miss Fiji, Nanise Rainima won second place in the talent finals of the Miss World competition in Sanya, China. Congratulations to the young lady!
Ladies and gentlemen, I am confident that our team to the Pacific Mini Games will also have its own history to make, and own story to tell.
I commend your respective coaches and officials for preparing you for the Mini Games and beyond! I also acknowledge the support and sacrifices by your respective families.
I wish to remind you that as national representatives, you all have an obligation to perform to the best of your abilities and to be good ambassadors for Fiji both on and off the field. Represent our nation with passion and pride.
I once again extend my personal best wishes and the Nation’s wishes for a successful outing. Our prayers are with you all.
May God Bless you all and our beloved nation, Fiji.
Vinaka vakalevu and thank you.