Since the COVID-19 breakout in Fiji in February, touch rugby – like most sports – was in a state of lockdown, and had to endure the long wait before being allowed to re-engage after passing the safety protocols as set out by the Fiji Sports Commission.
In the interim during the lockdown, Touch Federation Fiji (TFF) executives made visitations to affiliates to keep them abreast of the plans of TFF, and also hear their thoughts in moving the sport of touch forward in their respective regions. COVID-19 was refreshing in the way that it forced us out to view things differently, especially the spirit of gratitude for things we often take for granted.
Recently, one of TFF’s affiliates, Suva Touch Association, under the leadership of Ratu Veceli Mataitini and his executives, have been in engagement with their clubs to ensure that the protocols that provided touch the opportunity to re-engage in a post-COVID-19 environment are complied with during training and competition. Tentatively, they have set their date to start competition in early September. This provides clubs a window of around four weeks to get accustomed to the protocols and also time to fine tune their players before resumption of competition.
Nadi Touch Association on the western side of the Viti Levu are also in earnest preparations for the resumption of their competition. According to their President, Mr Jale Tomasi, their tentative date to start competition is set around mid-September. Under the leadership of Mr Tomasi, he has been having regular meeting with his executives and officials of TFF to ensure that there were no stones left unturned.
On the development side of things, TFF has been in close liaison with the Fiji Sports Commission in setting up workshops to get our referees accredited before the resumption of competition. There is a workshop scheduled for the first week of September.
Furthermore, there has been accreditation of three of our coaches in the strength and conditioning program under Office of Sport Education Programmes (OSEP) funding. Mesake Tikotani who coached the Fiji women’s team to bronze at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, together with Maleli Uluimoala and Lorima Jitoko were accredited. This is part of the program to build the capacity of our coaches.
We are also grateful to the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committees (FASANOC) and OSEP in providing courses to build the capacity of our people as a further two of our TFF executives, Rosi Bavon and Alanieta Lesuma Fatiaki, were accredited with Management in Sports certificates. This will enhance their capability in contributing towards the management of the sport of touch in Fiji. This was a milestone as both the ladies are TFF vice presidents and their achievement was a great one for the sport of touch and the ladies who participate in the sport.
There is some preliminary work on seeking assistance from the parent body, Federation of International Touch (FIT), in the technical areas of referees and coaches as we work on strengthening areas we feel will assist our endeavour in progressing the sport here in Fiji.
Words by Touch Federation Fiji