HON. PM VOREQE BAINIMARAMA’S SPEECH AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE TEAM FIJI OLYMPIC UNIFORMS

Vice President of FASANOC;
Team Fiji Sponsors;
Team Fiji Athletes, Officials and Management;
Families and friends,

Bula vinaka and good morning.
I am delighted to be here today to launch the new Team Fiji uniforms that will be worn in competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

I am proud and honoured to be with all of our Olympians and Paralympians this morning. Congratulations to all of you. Your presence here alone is evidence of your dedication to your sport and your commitment to excellence. We may be a small country, but our athletes are world-class, and the ones here today, as members of Team Fiji, are the best of us.

I’ve said many times that sports and athletic competition are integral parts of our national life in Fiji. They inspire a spirit of unity and camaraderie that extends into our homes, schools and places of work. They inspire our young people, not only to get active and participate in sports themselves, but to conduct themselves with dignity in victory or in defeat. And they even inspire people of my age, who are filled with pride and joy every time Fijian athletes succeed.

Whenever the Fijian people see our men and women excel in competition against bigger and more resourced nations, it inspires all of us to pursue our passions with the confidence that we, as Fijians, are capable of anything. That our future, as Fijians, is not dictated by the size of our nation, but by the size of our hearts. By our determination to win and our unwillingness to take a back seat to anyone. By our commitment to be the very best that we can be.

And that is what we ask of our athletes gathered here today. To be the best that you can be. Not only on the day of competition, but on every day leading up to it and on every day after. And by that, I don’t necessarily mean by winning Gold – although that is what we are going to Rio for. I mean by maintaining high standards of conduct on and off the field. Conduct befitting the Fijian people and our proud nation.

I believe that representing one’s country is the greatest honour an athlete can have. It is a nation’s acknowledgement of your skill, your talent and, most importantly, the quality of your character.

When you put on these new uniforms and represent Team Fiji, you represent all of us. Your actions on and off the field define how the world will see Fiji and the Fijian people. That is an enormous responsibility. And one that the people of Fiji have entrusted to each of you.

I know many of our athletes here were, at one point in their lives, inspired by a role model to pursue their careers as athletes. Our role models are our personal heroes. Today, you are the heroes. You are the role models. And make no mistake, the eyes of the nation are upon you, and we are with you all the way.

With those few words, it is my pleasure to launch the official Team Fiji collection. Wear these uniforms with pride. Keep up your good work, and I know you will do us all proud.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.