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Games now 50 years old

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, April 26, 2012

THIS year's Coca-Cola Games could be the 50th anniversary of the Fiji Secondary Schools Annual Athletics finals.

According to the former Suva Grammar teacher and top rugby commentator Graham Eden, the annual schools meet started back in 1962.

Chief organiser of this year's Coca- Cola Games, Vuli Waqa said Eden, who is originally from New Zealand, "could be right".

Waqa said they did not have any records with them and cannot officially say this was the 50th year of the Games.

Eden, who joined Suva Grammar in 1961, said he along with few expatriate teachers from SGS, started the competition, which is now regarded as the region's biggest schools sporting event.

A report in the Fiji Times April 30, 1962 issue, states the event had 17 (mostly government owned) schools from Viti Levu and Ovalau competing.

The competition had 417 athletes competing in more than 40 track and field events.

Queen Victoria School won that inaugural event after scooping 54 certificates followed by Ratu Kadavulevu with 19.

The top bets for this year's boys title, Suva Grammar and Marist Brothers, were at the bottom end of the table in the 1962 Fiji Finals. SGS managed four certificates while MBHS settled with three.

"There were no gold medals that time and schools were presented with certificates. The meet in 1962 was held at Buckhurst Park, on grass track and those enthusiasts at Grammar marked the track using the old engine oils," Eden said.

"I remember we used to meet at my family kitchen at Veiuto where we compile all the (handwritten) entries and put them (the athletes) in the heats."

Eden said it was in the 1970s when the then soft drink company, Juicy and its owner David Aspy sponsored the Games.





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