The Fijian national karate team have their minds set on doing their very best at the Pacific Games in July.
The team will be dominated by younger fighters, who participated at the 2014 Oceania Karate Championships in Fiji. They say they are determined to “make their mark” at the Games, reveals Team manager, Laverne Qiolevu.
Although the team are challenged by the non-availability of a proper training venue; they have managed to make do with using the local Yat Sen school hall for training, sharing with badminton.
“When the venue is not available and in order not to disrupt the training weekends, the team makes use of the National Stadium, Gym and Aquatic Centre to go through their fitness drills,” she added.
Fiji finished second with six golds, seven silver medals and one bronze at the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia.
At the Oceania Championships in 2014, the Fiji Karate team finished in third place winning four gold, 7 silver and 16 bronze medals behind New Zealand in second place at the two day event. Australia topped the championships with 25 gold medals.
With the inclusion of three overseas-based fighters in Anthony Yam and Sandip Pala, based in Australia, and Alyssa Broadbridge based in New Zealand; the team is under rigorous training with coaches, led by their mentor who is currently based in Australia.
“They have been working with this young team since last year and of the 18 in the squad, only seven participated at the 2011 Pacific Games, 11 are new to the Pacific Games scene as they have now moved into the senior grade however they are not new to international competitions,” said Qiolevu.
“Our target in all competitions that we send a team to has always been for athletes to perform their best when walking off the mat with no regrets, “the team manager said.