Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 10:43 AM on Friday 25 April

/ Front page / Editorial Comment

Let the Games begin

Fred Wesley
Friday, April 25, 2014

The stage is set for what is building up to be the biggest Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Finals starting this morning in Suva.

Over 2800 athletes from about 160 schools around the country will compete in the two-day athletics meet at the ANZ Stadium in Laucala Bay.

Obviously attention will be on defending champions in the boys' division Marist Brothers High School, and Jasper Williams High School in the girls' division.

While Marist will try to win the boys' title for the third consecutive year, Lautoka's Jasper will defend the girls' title for the first time.

In total, 93 events are scheduled for the sub-junior, junior, intermediate and senior grades in both divisions.

From 9.40am today, attention will switch to the best of our student athletes.

Today is the culmination of weeks, and for some athletes, months of preparation.

There is no doubt about the impact the Fiji Finals has on the imagination of students, fans and parents around the country.

This is when the ANZ Stadium becomes a cauldron brimming with people from all walks of life.

One thing is certain apart from the tough competition and excitement this event brings each year. Today is when every imaginary divide is discarded.

Race, religion, colour and even political leanings are cast aside as attention focuses on the track and field events.

Today is when athletes from the remotest parts of the country have an opportunity to compete against the best from around Fiji.

Today is about showcasing talent. It is about being recognised as an athlete.

Today is when an athlete from the island of Kadavu or Vaturova in Cakaudrove, or Saqani for instance, has an opportunity to compete against an athlete from one of the big schools on Viti Levu.

Last year Jasper proved that athletes from outside of Suva and Tailevu could also mix it with the best, and take out top honours.

The system now in place ensures athletes, irrespective of where they come from, have a level playing field. It then comes down to commitment and perseverance during the preparation phase.

No one can ever doubt the popularity of the Fiji Finals.

At this time of the year, old scholars are committed to ensuring their schools are well prepared for the two-day event.

There is a huge following of the Fiji Finals annually.

When one considers the number of athletes, their supporters, students, fans and old scholars, the ANZ Stadium will be jam-packed.

For every athlete who will be competing today and tomorrow, it is about finally living a dream.