On Monday, 22 September, 2014 the Fiji Sports Council received a major boost from the Office of the Prime Minister in Suva.
Fiji Sports Council Properties Manager John Pickering on behalf of FSC CEO Litiana Loabuka, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreement with OPM Permanent Secretary Mr Naipote Katonibau before being presented with a cheque just over $159,000.
The grant is to assist with upgrading the Vodafone Arena in Suva for the upcoming FIBA Under 19 Oceania Basketball Championship from November 27 – December 6.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has set some costly facility standards which the FSC team is determined to meet, to ensure the 10-day championship is hosted in Fiji.
The $159K grant from the OPM will contribute to upgrading the courts, bringing in state of the art new backboards and scoreboards that are guaranteed to last for several years.
Permanent Secretary for OPM Katonibau says it is vital that the Fiji Government plays an active role in sport as it has fast become a huge contributor to the country’s economy.
“This grant to the Fiji Sports Council is to ensure that we provide the best in sporting facilities to host big events like the Oceania U19 Basketball Championship. It is important that we do all we can to meet the requirements set by International bodies as it means that in terms of these types of investments, Fiji is able to earn more international hosting rights for future events.”
Katonibau adds “Sport in Fiji plays a huge role in our economy, and the Government strongly believes that we must do all we can to develop it. Hosting more and more international events not only contributes to tourism but, it showcases our local talent to the world and with the upgrading plan the Fiji Sports Council has set, we are confident they will get the job done.”
At the Championship, Fiji will be up against teams from Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Samoa, American Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.
The winner from this event will qualify for the U18 World Championship in January 2015.
The Fiji Sports Council has this year, hosted a number of Internationals which include football’s Under 19 World Cup play-offs at the ANZ Stadium in Suva and the Netball Tri-Series with Papua New Guinea and Scotland at the Vodafone Arena.
Rugby Test matches against Italy and Samoa also reached our shores while the Singapore Netball came for a three-match tour hosted at the FMF Gymnasium.
Cricket action has also come in the form of the tour by the Korean National Men’s team which played T20 matches at the FSC Cricket Ground against Fiji in Laucala Bay.
The most recent International event was the Oceania Karate Championship at the Vodafone Arena a few weeks ago.
Next up for the Arena is the U19 Oceania Basketball Championship with more internationals expected in 2015 given FSC facility improvements.
FIJI SPORTS COUNCIL