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Snow: Change schedule

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, April 25, 2014

REGIONAL games statistician Bob Snow is in the country and looking forward to the 2014 Fiji Finals which starts today at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

The former Fiji schoolteacher, who is now based in Papua New Guinea, arrived into the country this week and expects a tough battle in the annual secondary schools athletics meet this year.

Snow said the Coca-Cola Games was "Pacific's best nursery of the sport" and the onus was on the Athletics Fiji officials to select the best for the international meets.

"Almost every single (athletics) stars from Fiji comes from the Coca-Cola Games. Very rarely you will get what I call a grassroots competitor, just a villager, who hasn't come in through the school system, making it big in the (regional) events.

"Ninety per cent of them come through the school system."

Athletes like Pacific sprint king Banuve Tabakaucoro, Milika Tuivanuavou, Eugene Vollmer, Leslie Copeland and others have come through the school system.

With the games growing every year, Snow reiterated the organisers have to seriously look into hosting it over three days.

He said "two days is a punishing schedule for the athletes".

Snow said the most successful schools meet in the world, the Jamaican Championship, which has produced stars like Usain Bolt is a five-day event.

"If I was in a position, I would beg the authorities to expand it to a three-day event because we are looking at the prospect in some of the divisions like the 400 metres runners in one day to run a heat, the semi-final and final and then the relay.

"They don't allow international athletes to do this. They never run two 400m (races) on the same day and sometimes they have a break of one day between heat and the semi-final and here some of them will be doing it four times in a day.

"It really should be a three-day meet given the huge number of athletes that is now involved."

More than 2800 athletes from about 160 schools around the country are competing in the two-day meet.

The Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Association earlier confirmed their interest in increasing the event to three days.

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