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Barefoot runners steal the show

Arin Kumar
Thursday, June 05, 2014

SOME hidden talents were unearthed during the 5km Fun Run in Nadi last weekend.

Barefoot runners from the hills of Nabukelevu Village in Serua, 25km away from Pacific Harbour, won the primary schools boys and girls grades.

Viliame Lakia won the boys competition while Mereia Rabo won the girls competition and race director Abinesh Kumar of Nadi wants to see them compete more.

"The two tiny tots travelled all the way from Navua last weekend with their headteacher Epineri Vuli and teacher Nikita Maharaj and managed to win their respective events in the 5km Fun Run in Nadi," he said.

"During Easter weekend, I visited the village and conducted a coaching clinic for four days.

"The villagers welcomed me in a big way and through that I was able to bring them for the Fun Run."

Kumar said the villagers were unfortunate to not have basic necessities but they had the passion for sports.

"I found out the village does not have electricity and they drink river water.

"The villagers have got a lot of talent and they can not only run but play good rugby.

"The youths travel 10 to 15km to work in their farms.

"Despite not having proper playground, the village youths and kids are very strong and can do their talking through athletics, boxing or rugby.

"Whenever they have small tournaments in Serua on weekends, they would walk 25km to play their games."

Kumar said the clinics he conducted were successful and he managed to identify some potential national reps.

"From the Easter weekend they all started to train for the Fun Run and trials were conducted to choose the best two out of sixty.

"We were also able to find one disabled athlete who can do wonders for Fiji if given the right guidance.

"The head teacher will coach a team of 10 athletes to represent Serua for the Chow Games and we are now looking for sponsors and the village has started fundraising for the event.

"He (Vuli) also said he will try to bring 10 runners to the next Fun Run which will be hosted by Jet Runners Club on July 27 at Korovuto College in Nadi.





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