3 May, 2016, 12:00 am
“FijI rules” are killing the performance of our athletes, says Bob Snow, an independent athletics observer who was part of last weekend’s three-day Coca-Cola Games at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.
He said our student athletes had been taught wrong techniques which contributed to the downfall of results on national and international levels.
Snow is no stranger to Fijian athletics.
He taught in numerous schools in Fiji and around the region since the 1970s. This included a stint at Lelean Memorial School, Davuilevu, Nausori, alongside renowned local fitness expert Epeli Lagiloa.
“What I say will be controversial to many. It will lead to a lot of unhappiness, but a lot of Fiji rules had been used instead of IAAF international rules here to train athletes,” he said.
“A lot of athletes who don’t know any better are in for a collateral damage. Unless all competitions are exactly run according to international rules, Fiji will not have credibility. Many rules have been changed and students are not taught the correct technical rules.
“These are basic rules like false starts. If it is good enough for Usain Bolt who got disqualified in the world championship for false starts, then it is also good for Fiji.
“Fiji athletics officials know the rules and they should use them. Officials cannot deny that international rules are not used properly.
“Teachers can download international rules on the computer, and are free.”
Joseph Rodan (Jr), Athletics Fiji chief development officer, agreed saying: “That is something that we are working on.
“We always stress the fact that athletics has many parts, not just about the athletes and the elites, there are the coaches and the technical officials.
“That’s part of our development. It is split up into two areas — one is for the athletes and coaches in the types of training programs that they put together.”
He said this was an area AF chief technical officer Albert Miller had been working on.
Snow, meanwhile, agreed that the Fiji finals should be run for three days to give athletes more rest and recovery time.
He calls on Fijian officials to also look at developments to ensure that student athletes do not fade out after the Fiji finals.
Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Association secretary Vuli Waqa said they would continue to work, promote and develop the sport at schools and grassroots level.
Meanwhile, Marist Brothers High School and Jasper Williams High School were announced winners of the 2016 Fiji finals.