MINOR sports have received a major boost in their development programs following a grant from the Australian High Commission.
Australia's Acting High Commissioner Glenn Miles announced sports development grants worth almost $54,500 to three sporting organisations in Fiji on Friday.
The recipients of the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) are the Fiji Hockey Federation, the Fiji Surfing Association and Australian Rules football (AFL) Fiji.
The Fiji Hockey Federation has been awarded a grant of $18,267 to support a project aimed at re-igniting interest in the sport in Levuka, Savusavu and Taveuni.
The national hockey federation plans to introduce regular competitions for hockey enthusiasts in these areas.
"I am particularly pleased that this project targets communities which don't have access to funding that might be more readily available in the larger urban centres," Miles said in a statement.
The Fiji Surfing Association will receive $17,959 for a project aimed at developing water safety awareness and skills for children.
"The project will focus on eight to16-year-olds on Viti Levu, introducing the highly successful 'Nippers' program to Fiji," Miles said.
"This will teach valuable surfing and surf lifesaving skills, which we hope will help to address and reduce the incidence of drowning in Fiji."
Meanwhile, AFL Fiji will use its grant of $18,267 to assist in the development of leadership skills training in the administration of the game in the country.
The Australian Sports Outreach Program is an Australian Government-funded program which began in 2006.
It is managed by the Australian Sports Commission and aims to assist sports organisations in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
Other sports organisations in Fiji which have received ASOP grants since the program's inception include Fiji Basketball Federation, Cricket Fiji, Athletics Fiji, Fiji Table Tennis Association, Netball Fiji, Shotokan Karate Club and Natokowaqa Rental Board Youth.