High hopes

THE Commonwealth Games starts today with the opening ceremony at Carrara Stadium at Gold Coast, Australia.

About 6600 athletes and team officials from 71 nations and territories will compete for 11 days showcasing some of the Commonwealth’s rivalries on the sporting field.

Australia is hosting the games which takes place every four years for the fifth time. The first was in Sydney in 1938, Perth in 1962, Brisbane in 1982 and Melbourne in 2006. The Aussies have hosted the most number of games and for the first time this year, the games will be held in a regional Australian city.

For the first also, Fiji has sent its biggest contingent to the games.

With it comes more chances of medal wins, says Team Fiji deputy chef de mission Chris Yee.

“This is the biggest contingent that is going,” he said.

“There are a lot of hopes on what we will come and achieve in the Commonwealth Games. The teams have prepared well and the Government has given us a lot of support through Fiji National Sports Commission.”

Compared with past games where Fiji sent handful of athletes, the 2018 contingent has a challenge of its own — rivalry to get the best result among our own athletes.

“We will see what they (athletes) will do out there, but the exciting part of the challenge within the contingent is everybody is chasing each other for that elusive gold medal”

The last time Fiji won a gold medal was in 2002 by Fiji Judo’s Nacanieli Qerewaqa Takayawa.

Rugby 7s had always been the favourite to win gold, but always fell at the last hurdle even with the inclusion of the king of 7s rugby, Waisale Serevi.

Yee said the competition within Team Fiji was triggered by the historic success our tiny south sea nation set two years ago.

“All along we see that the gold medal that has been won by rugby 7s in the Olympics has inspired a lot of people. We also know that Fiji has a lot of potential people for bringing their best .

“We see that in rugby and soccer. Now in individual sports, we will bring out the best in our athletes. We have athletes who are actually world ranked. For instance, if we look at weight-liifting, we have people who are world ranked. They have been breaking records. The athletes will do their best.”

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