CLOSING ADDRESS AT THE COCA COLA GAMES

Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

Once again the Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Championships – the Coca-Cola Games – are drawing to a close. And I just want to say a few words about why these games are important and what they mean for us all.
Once again we’ve seen two days of great competition, of triumphs and disappointments. To the winners I say, congratulations. To be a champion here means that you are the best in Fiji.

We pay tribute to your achievement, your dedication to the long hours of training that brought you here, your determination and your will to win.

To those who fell short , we also convey our congratulations. Because to make it here – to be among the best of the best – is an achievement in itself.

You too have shown discipline and commitment. Doing your best, competing in a spirit of friendly competition and losing with grace is also the mark of a great athlete and sports person.

Never before have Fijians enjoyed such a magnificent venue as this new ANZ Stadium. Many of you will have trained on school and village ovals . But to come to this world-class facility in our capital city is a special occasion that you will all remember for the rest of your lives.

I want to repeat something here that I have been saying at schools all over Fiji; there has never been a better time in the entire history of our nation to be a Fijian.

But I also want you all to think more as a team – Team Fiji – in which we all work together in a unified way to put scores on the board for our nation. We have a vision to make Fiji Great. But that can only happen with team work, of everyone putting our country before ourselves and looking out for our team-mates. Caring for each other. Making sure no other player is left behind. Treating everyone with respect.

We are all ultimately on the same team. And we all have cause to be patriotic because we live in a country of great beauty, abundant resources and wonderful people.

As we leave here this afternoon after two days of competition, let’s think about how fortunate we all are to be Fijians and dedicate ourselves to continue to build a new Fiji, a better Fiji, with justice and opportunity for all.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.