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Sprint queen fondly recalls the good times

Atasa Moceituba
Thursday, April 20, 2017

SHE can still recall how she would trick her mother into doing her chores just so she could catch-up and be with her friends.

Growing up Karalaini Naciqa Waqanidrola, 53, did not see athletics as a profession but rather as a leisure activity.

The former athlete from Bemana, Ruailevu in Nadroga who was also the 100 and 200 metres sprint champ during her high school days said taking part in athletics had moulded her to be the person she was today.

For her, taking part in the Coca-Cola Games was a way of escaping home from doing all the chores.

"I ran in 1978-1982 and was the sprint champion during the Coca-Cola Fiji Secondary Schools National Athletics," Ms Waqanidrola said. I attended Cathedral Secondary School during my high school years where Mr Aca Levula was my coach."

She said the annual event was something she and her friends would look forward to during their high school days adding students who participated in the much awaited event should be proud of themselves.

"For Coca-Cola Games I have good memories. It is a special part of development in a part that it's developed.

"It also disciplines me in a way that I'm able to weigh things and see things in a different perspective.

"At school we were taught to cheer, we cheered but we never called others names though we have rivalries it was in a good spirit but not like now.

Ms Waqanidrola said breaking the 100 and 200m record was something she would always cherish.

"I set the record in 1980 in the 200m record with 26.5 seconds which I think was broken 10 years later in 1990. I anchored the Cathedral Secondary School relay team senior girls 4x100m where we won the game clocking 51.7 seconds and those records they stood for quite a while.

"My 100 metres record I set in 1978 was broken by Loata Turagavuli. I was the sprint champion from 78 as a junior than I was promoted up to intermediate from 1979-1981 because I was the only one that was running so I was in the intermediate grade for three years.

"In 1979 we were the first school to wrestle the trophy from ACS school intermediate grade."

She said she was even qualified to participate in the South Pacific Games in 1979 however her father informed her not to go since having a career was more important than running.

"I enjoyed it and have lasting friends whom we still keep in touch and connect. One advantage of athletics is we're like a big family.

"It was more a leisure or a social activity so I usually hung out with friends like Nelly Wainiqolo, Sainiana Tukana, Liku Galala these were my circle of friends and we always played together."

Ms Waqanidrola encouraged parents to continue to support their children in any way they could.

"It all starts at home. For me it involves the whole family my mother was my best spectator because at the end of the day my mother is my best critic and I hope every parents can assist in building that character. "Make use of this opportunity and have lasting memories get something positive out of it."

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