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Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, March 16, 2014

FIJI'S suspension from the Commonwealth Games has been lifted.

This was decided at the 43rd meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) in London on Friday.

Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth Games in 2009. The lifting of the suspension means Fiji can compete in the 2014 games in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3.

In a statement, the CMAG said the move was in recognition of the significant progress made in Fiji towards holding national elections by September this year.

However, Fiji's still suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth.

"In recognition of progress, CMAG decided that Fiji's current full suspension from the Commonwealth should be changed to suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth, thus permitting Fiji once again to participate in a range of Commonwealth activities, including the Commonwealth Games, recognising the role of sport in bringing people together," the statement said.

"The group further reaffirmed its commitment to Fiji's full reinstatement as a member of the Commonwealth family, through the restoration of constitutional civilian democracy following credible elections later this year."

A government statement said athletes and sports people would especially welcome the opportunity to compete in the Glasgow Games.

"The government notes that those games are now only four months away and Fijian athletes may not be as prepared as they would normally be to compete," it said

"With that in mind, the decision on whether to go to Glasgow will be left to the various sporting bodies in Fiji."

Fiji Association of SpĀ­orts and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) president Reg Sanday said he would be "calling a meeting as early as possible of the 17 sports represented at the Glasgow Games to discuss our participation".

He had sent a letter to Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamlesh Sharma last September requesting the CMAG to reconsider its decision of suspending Fiji from the Commonwealth Games.

"I am happy for sport. I am happy for Fiji," Mr Sanday said.

"The government already has a stand on Fiji's membership of the Commonwealth and I respect that, so early next week I will also want to meet with the Minister for Youth and Sport, Commander Viliame Naupoto."

The president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, HRH Tunku Imran, also welcomed the decision.

"I am delighted to welcome Fiji back into the Commonwealth Games family, and very pleased that they will be able to participate in Glasgow," he told BBC.

"The games will be an incredible festival of sport, and the celebrations will be all the more complete with our Fijian friends and colleagues taking part."

Glasgow 2014 organising committee chairman Lord Robert Smith of Kelvin said he now looked forward "to welcoming Fiji's athletes and officials" to Scotland for the games.

Speaking to BBC, Lord Smith said: "Discussions on Fiji's participation in this summer's games will now begin between the organising committee and the Commonwealth Games Association of Fiji to establish the scale and scope of the team they propose to send to Glasgow."

Fiji last took part in the Commonwealth Games in the 2006 games in Melbourne where we won a bronze medal in the rugby sevens competition.

"I am happy for sport. I am happy for Fiji," Mr Sanday said.

"The government already has a stand on Fiji's membership of the Commonwealth and I respect that, so early next week I will also want to meet with the Minister for Youth and Sport, Commander Viliame Naupoto."

The president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, HRH Tunku Imran, also welcomed the decision.

"I am delighted to welcome Fiji back into the Commonwealth Games family, and very pleased that they will be able to participate in Glasgow," he told BBC.

"The games will be an incredible festival of sport, and the celebrations will be all the more complete with our Fijian friends and colleagues taking part."

Glasgow 2014 organising committee chairman Lord Robert Smith of Kelvin said he now looked forward "to welcoming Fiji's athletes and officials" to Scotland for the games.

Speaking to BBC, Lord Smith said: "Discussions on Fiji's participation in this summer's games will now begin between the organising committee and the Commonwealth Games Association of Fiji to establish the scale and scope of the team they propose to send to Glasgow."

Fiji last took part in the Commonwealth Games in the 2006 games in Melbourne where we won a bronze medal in the rugby sevens competition.





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