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Fiji Time: 11:15 AM on Saturday 19 April

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Hometown hero

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, May 20, 2013

DRESSED in masi and escorted by about 100 people, schools athletics sprint king Beniamino Maravu humbly sat on the back of a vehicle and smiled at people as they yelled out his name along the highway.

The vehicle, draped in masi, carried the Cakaudrove lad from Savusavu Town to Saint Bedes College where Catholic parishioners and former students waited.

The Form Seven student was welcomed home in a traditional ceremony after being crowned the first sprint king from a school in the North. Maravu, the eldest of five siblings, only thanked God for his blessings.

"I aimed to grab this blue ribbon title (100m)and I told God about it. He has certainly helped me and I return to Him the glory and honour," he said.

"This win is also dedicated to my mother who is at home and despite our distance, she has always advised me to do better.

"The support from my coach and teachers of the school has also been tremendous and without them, I wouldn't have come this far."

Maravu's preparation for the annual event in Suva was also supported by his namesake and maternal uncle, a former police officer and sprinter in the 1980s for St Johns College, Cawaci.

"Family support was also overwhelming as they also visited me during my stay in Suva," the young Maravu said.

"Success all begins in the heart and mind. If you are willing then you will achieve your goals even if you don't have the resources.

"And the most important thing is to trust in God always. I told God I wanted the blue ribbon title and he gave it to me. I also thank all the mothers in this parish for organising dinner for everyone."

The Catholic parish in Savarekareka was packed with people to celebrate the historic achievement.