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Malanis share common goal

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, July 17, 2014

TOWERING 17-year-old swimmer Meli Malani and diminutive 21-year-old weightlifter Seruwaia Malani may not be blood relatives but they share a common goal.

They both are aspiring to make their country proud at next week's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Following in his father's footsteps, Meli has his sights set on a career as a doctor. But in the meantime, the Marist Brothers High School Sixth Former is chasing his dream as a competitive swimmer at the games.

Apart from national pride and the social aspect of swimming, Malani is keen to raise the profile of the sport in the country.

"Rugby 7s has won the World Cup and the 15s side has reached the quarter-finals, it is unfortunate that swimming hasn't reached that stage yet," the 17-year-old shared.

"I believe we should be encouraged, acknowledged and assisted but if we don't get any recognition it really doesn't matter because we're just proud to fly the flag for Fiji and compete and have fun."

Malani began competitive swimming at 11 years of age. His personal best times are 24.04s in the 50m freestyle, 55.18s in the 100m freestyle and 1minute flat in the 100m butterfly.

In the four years since she entered the sport, Seruwaia Malani has taken weightlifting to another level.

With her elder brother, Pacific and Oceania champion Manueli Tulo offering advice and support, the 21-year-old Ovalau lass is going to compete with determination and pride.

"We might not have the training facilities that other nations have but we are proud to represent Fiji," she said.

"Manueli encouraged me when I made the team to Glasgow. He said I had to be confident and not to be afraid when I entered the competition arena.

"I'm going to this competition fully prepared to do my best for my country. At the moment, I lift 57kg in the snatch and 70kg in the clean and jerk. I'm aiming for 60kg in the snatch and 75kg in the clean and jerk."

Ms Malani competes in the 48kg division.

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