Fiji Time: 11:07 AM on Monday 30 November

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Officials to review ruling

Jone Kalouniviti
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ORGANISERS of the biggest schools sports meet in the region, the Coca-Cola Games will review the qualifying standards that have caused much debate.

This is after mixed reactions from schools, particularly those based in the West stating the new standard as unrealistic and impractical.

West-based secondary schools had last week asked for the state's intervention to review the qualifying standards.

Games committee official Vuli Waqa said yesterday that the standard was voted by the members themselves and now they had informed their representative in the West that they may have to review this standard.

Divisional education officer West Lorima Voravora confirmed yesterday that he had received the notification from the organisers delegate in the West and that the committee would reconvene a meeting to review this.

"This issue about qualifying standard for the Cokes I believe has been thrashed out in the media for the past week and I believe it is a genuine concern," Voravora said.

Voravora said they had supported the concerns raised by schools in the West.

"I first came to know of this when I was guest at the Jasper Williams High School inter-house two weeks ago where I was told that if based on those times then only two from their school would qualify for the Cokes, this is the defending girls champion I am talking about here.

"So I believe the concern is genuine and I hope this new standard will be reviewed to allow the participation of schools who do not compete on a synthetic track.

The new qualifying standard is taken from the fifth placed position for every event from last year's Coke Games.

Voravora said while this new change was agreed to by teachers themselves, it must be understood that maybe they did not fully understand the impact of taking the qualifying standard from the Cokes finals itself — a time when all athletes were at their peak.

"That would be impossible to reach during the zones because, that standard is taken from a synthetic track and also at a time when all athletes were at their peak."

Voravora said even based on last year's standard, the whole Lautoka Zone athletes wouldn't have qualified due to the bad weather and slow times recorded.

He side the new standard would automatically eliminate all athletes from the rural areas and the islands.

The Coca-Cola Games is considered the biggest schools sports meet in the region with over 3,000 competitors.

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