Fiji rugby sevens and netball teams appeal for Glasgow 2014 lifeline

 

Fiji’s participation in team events at Glasgow 2014 is “under consideration” following their reinstatement into the Commonwealth, insidethegames can reveal. 

Reg Sanday, President of the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC), has appealed to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) for the country’s rugby sevens and netball teams to be allowed to compete at the Games.

Sanday has written to Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper and President Tunku Imran calling for Fiji’s netball and men’s and women’s rugby sevens sides to be allowed to compete in Glasgow as they were denied the opportunity to earn qualification because of the country’s exclusion from the Commonwealth.

Sanday wants the netball and rugby sevens competitions to be re-drawn saying it “has to be done” describing the Commonwealth “as a family”.

He writes: “Now is an opportunity to show to the Commonwealth and to the world the principle that all members are treated equally and with respect and that the Commonwealth’s strength is only as good as its weakest link.”

The Pacific Island had been under suspension since 2009 following a coup in 2006 which saw military ruler Frank Bainimarama take control of the country.

After refusing to hold elections since seizing power, Bainimarama has now promised to hold fresh elections in September this year while a new constitution has been ratified.

The move has paved the way for Fijian athletes to make their return at Glasgow 2014 but the qualification periods for team events including hockey, netball and rugby sevens have already been completed meaning that Fiji will have no representation in these sports.

Hooper acknowledged receipt of the letter but would not be drawn on a likely outcome.

“They have written to us and the matter is under consideration without making a commitment either way,” he told insidethegames.

“We will get back to them in due course.

“They only wrote to us on Monday (March 17).

“We are looking into the matter and I’m not going to infer anything.

“We have received the letter from FASANOC and as I said we will give it due consideration and hopefully we will respond by the end of this week.”

While Fiji’s netball team has failed to medal at a Commonwealth Games, it is traditionally one of the strongest nations in rugby sevens and would have been a real medal threat during the competition at Ibrox Stadium this summer.

The side has two silver medals from the Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and Manchester 2002 while they claimed bronze at Melbourne 2006, the last occasion Fiji competed in the event.

Fijian athletes still have opportunities to compete in the 14 other sports at the Glasgow 2014 Games, which is due take place from July 23 to August 3.

At Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006, the average size of the Fijian team, including athletes and officials, was 85.

This article first appeared in www.insidethegames.biz and is reproduced with permission.

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