ONOC honours two Oceania champions of sport

Sport needs a diverse and functioning ecosystem to produce and sustain athletes and games, and two individuals who lead in this ecosystem in Oceania were awarded the ONOC Merit Award recently; Sainimili Saukuru (FIJ) and Chet Gray (AUS).

ONOC President, Dr Robin Mitchell, said, “Sainimili Saukuru, past Chief Sport Education Programme Officer of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC), and Chet Gray, Secretary General of the Organisation of Sporting Federations of Oceania (OSFO), received their awards from Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”

“Saukuru has been instrumental in the development of the community-based Oceania Sport Education Programme (OSEP), which she worked with from 2007 to December 2021, leaving a legacy of qualified sport trainers, educators, and administrators.

“She worked from the ground up and contributed to creating and sustaining a community-based programme that is recognised as a flagship in the Olympic Movement.

‘The programme underwent an independent external evaluation under her management, and the recommendations are now being implemented, part of which means that accrediting courses with the Pacific Community through micro-qualifications means graduates will be recognised in Pacific Island countries and this will impact their value and worth.

“Saukuru’s work contributes to the professionalising of graduates of the OSEP course and will also contribute to strengthening the Pacific Island sporting industry.”

On award recipient Chet Gray, Dr Mitchell said, “Chet received the award for his contribution in building and strengthening sporting federations in Oceania.”

“We in Oceania are the only continent that has regional federations so national federations access support through two avenues; first through their membership of our National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and second, through their membership of their regional federations.

“Chet has been the Secretary-General of OSFO from its formation in 2005, and has worked hard to build relationships and bring OSFO to what it is today, and this has strengthened not only ONOC but has had wider positive impact in the region as well.

‘The good work that OSFO does has an impact on athlete development, performance, and games in the region, and part of that is definitely linked to Chet’s work.

“We are very pleased to have rewarded two exceptional people who have contributed to sport through administration and education.”

OSFO President, Kevan Gosper, commended Chet Gray for his ‘enormous contribution to sporting in the Oceania continent’.

Gosper said, “Chet Gray is one of the most remarkable and active sports officials in Oceania, and his diligence, work ethic, and imagination has built OSFO into the important organisation it is in Oceania.”

“He heads up the only sports federation group in the five continents; no other continent has a so-called sports federation group and Chet has done this with great style and I’ve trusted him enormously with this work.”

Article adapted from ONOC website.