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Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, April 27, 2014

OLYMPIC gold medallist Dwight Phillips has described the Coca-Cola Games as a "unique" event.

The two-day Games ended yesterday after brilliant performances by athletes in the track and field events at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Defending boys champions, Marist Brothers' High School, and girls champion Jasper Williams High School retained their titles.

MBHS scooped 14 gold, nine silver and 11 bronze medals while Jasper Williams claimed 10 gold, seven silver and three bronze medals.

Phillips, the four-time world champion in the long jump event, was impressed with the annual national secondary schools athletics meet that he is planning to come back in future.

The 36-year-old retired athlete said the event was phenomenal and thanked the US Embassy in Suva for the opportunity to witness the 2014 Games.

Phillips is in the country alongside former US middle distance Olympic runner Hazel Clark as part of the US Department of State Sport's Envoy Program

"Obviously we can learn something from this Games and apply it to the US and some of the competitions we have in the States," the 2004 Athens Games gold medallist said.

"I love the music and love the team spirit, the camaraderie behind it.

"Actually I wish we had that back at home, so I think that's definitely something unique. I think the Fijians should be very proud of their continued rich tradition of the Coca-Cola Games."

Phillips said the Games exemplified the hard work, dedication and athletes' self belief.

"I was very excited about the entire community being very supportive of the schools that they went to in the past and now supporting the current group of kids.

"The crowd was just electrifying, the fans, the music, the dancing and the kids have given their best, and that's what the sport is all about."

* More reports and pictures on the 2014 Coca-Cola Games on pages 22-25, 28.

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