ATHLETES deserve the support and encouragement from home and at school to excel in the sporting field.
The comment was made by permanent secretary for Youth and Sports Josefa Sania while closing the Lautoka athletics zone meet at the weekend.
He said Western schools did well last year and it was important for parents and teachers to support the athletes as they geared up for this year's Coca-Cola Games Fiji finals.
"Parents, teachers, coaches, sponsors and athletes — this is testament that we have national winners here in the Western Division. And this calls for unwavering, collected and consistent support to our athletes and young sports heroes," said Sania.
"Last year was a successful sporting year for Western schools with Jasper Williams High School, for the first time, bringing down the Coca-Cola Games girls title and Ratu Navula winning the Deans Trophy.
"I want to remind parents and teachers that some of these athletes won't excel academically, so please do recognise their athletic abilities and provide support.
"Nurture their talent and boost their self-confidence in their god-given talents and abilities."
Sania said sports had turned professional and many Fijians were earning huge income from their talent.
"Many sports have turned professional and some of these youngsters could find their future in sports, provided they are supported at a very young age.
"Through our sportsmen and women plying their trade overseas, our government is benefitting from the remittances sent to our shores to their families.
"This could be their future — sports."
Sania also reminded the athletes to work hard and make their parents and teachers proud at the Coca-Cola Games.
"For the athletes, continue to work harder and display your best to bring glory again to your school, and the Western Division but most of all your family."