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Fiji Time: 6:43 PM on Wednesday 23 April

/ Front page / Sport

Students for US trip

Arin Kumar
Friday, April 19, 2013

TWELVE children will embark on a once in a lifetime trip to the United States of America at the end of this month.

Kevin Barr, Mosese Tui, Shivneel Sharma, Nasoni Nawanawailagi, Koleta Drauvuni, Seinimere Manumanuwaqa, Lavenia Fifita, Vitila Vakaotia, Olivia Burese, Metila Cook Eta Ben and Uale Mai Stevenson are deaf athletes and will be going to the US as part of the Sports Visitor Program.

The program focuses on track and field activities for children who suffer from the disability and is supported by the US Embassy in Suva.

US ambassador to Fiji Frankie Reed said the athletes would work closely with fellow participants on many different activities, and together would all learn how sports could help bring the world a little closer.

"You are part of an amazing group of track and field athletes coming together from the Pacific Islands," she said.

"I know there is an exciting, fun and intense schedule planned that will take place in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.

"We know the talent that exists in the country and I strongly believe that this track and field training opportunity will give you a platform to set your eyes on Fiji's next Olympic gold medal following last year's win at the Paralympic Games by Fiji's own Iliesa Delana," Reed said.

Sprinter Koleta Drauvuni said she hoped to improve her time when she completes the program.

The 18-year-old of Sawanikula, Naitasiri, took part in the 4x400m event at the Coca-Cola Games last year said she would be part of the annual meet once again this year.

"I am hoping the competition there will increase my speed and the program would be a good build-up for me for the Coca-Cola Games," she said through the help of an interpreter.

"I have been overseas when I was young but this time it is America and I am really looking forward to the trip.

"Also I hope to qualify for the Deaf Olympics that would be held in Sofia, Bulgaria in July."

The athletes would be accompanied by coach Tomasi Bou, assistant coach Halamehi Tuilomani and interpreter Inise Tawaketini.

They leave on April 30 and return on May 13.