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Speaking Notes fo the Itatau by the U21 Netball Team to the Netball World Youth Cup

June 23, 2017       State House, Suva

The President of Netball Fiji – Ms. Wainikiti Bogidrau
The Vice President - Ms. Ruci Camaitoga
Netball Fiji Head Coach – Ms. Vicki Wilson
The Manageress of the Under 21 Team - Ms. Sera Vakaloloma
The Coach for the Fiji Invitational Club Team – Ms. Unaisi Rokoura
The Manageress – Ms. Ruby-Ann Sorovaki
Players and Officials of both teams
Ladies and gentlemen

Ni sa bula vinaka, good morning and warm greetings to you all.

I am honoured to receive, on behalf of Government and the people of Fiji, our two netball teams - the National Under 21 Team to the World Youth Cup in Gaberone, Botswana, and the Fiji Invitational Club Team to the International Super Club competition in New Zealand.

I am privileged to receive a group of very talented young women. 

I am aware that Fiji finished 9th in the last World Youth Championship, held in Scotland in 2013, and that during the qualification rounds in New Zealand in September last year, Fiji topped the six teams in the competition.

I am informed that the team we have today comprises three secondary school students. And that this is also one of our youngest Under21 teams to leave our shores.

This is very encouraging because it indicates our daring spirit that is now becoming a signature trait for our nation. Engaging our youth conveys a message of hope and belief in our young people and our future leaders.

I understand that you are pooled alongside England, Wales, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago. They may be champions in their own right, but our nation believes that you will do your best and be among the best.

As I had reminded our Flying Fijians team early this month - our competitors may have all the resources at their disposal, but we have one thing that is within our control – an indomitable fighting spirit. And, we don’t need money to develop this spirit!

I am informed that the Fiji Invitational Club Team’s participation at the International Super Club Competition is aimed at preparing our potential national reps for our international test matches next year.

Marama Vou literally means “Women of the new era.” The name augers very well in terms of psyching our team to perform to the best of our ability. The club competition will certainly be a good platform to gain exposure and confidence.

As President and Head of State, I continue to thank God for the talents that he has blessed this nation with, as we continue to strive in all areas of development in our effort to make an indelible mark in the world.

I continue to advise our sporting teams that you are not alone in your efforts to stamp your mark in the international sporting arena.

Fiji, as a Nation, is punching well above its weight in the leadership roles we are taking on in the global community.

We have chaired some of the largest gatherings of countries around the world, including the Group of 77 Plus China, and the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

We are also leading the charge in keeping our Oceans clean for a sustainable future. And, as you all know, Fiji will this year chair the 23rd Session of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change or COP23. 

Our love of sport is underscored in the philosophies, the strategies, and the language we convey in these important international gatherings.

We are calling on the world not to drop the ball, or perform blind passes on major issues like climate change, which is currently affecting humanity’s existence.

We are calling on the world to work as a team - and a winning team at that. We are telling the world that we can win over the world’s adversities only if we combine our efforts and work to our strengths.

I encourage you to embrace the same philosophies and adopt the same strategies. I reiterate that you can win against your opponents if you work together as a team.

I congratulate you all for your selection into our National Under 21 Team and in the Marama Vou Team. I also commend the hard work of your coaches and officials in preparing you for your assignments.

I encourage you to fly our flag with pride and be great ambassadors for Fiji both on and off the field.

It is my honour to accept your iTatau today and to convey to you Fiji’s collective encouragement and best wishes for a successful tour to New Zealand and Botswana, respectively.

May God Bless you all, your families, and our beloved Nation - Fiji.