By Alipate Pareti
Life is not easy training and living in the interior of Naitasiri, but the preparations of Lomaivuna High School for this year’s Coca Cola Games showcased the resilience of their students, teachers and parents.
Lomaivuna High School is located about 30 km from Suva, right in the heart of the lush forests of Naitasiri.
Head Coach Francis Kuruduadua admits, “It has not been an easy road for us. As we all know, the condition of the training ground is very poor and unsuitable for athletics training.”
The Lomaivuna High School ground is an uneven, muddy paddock, unfit to be used for sports activities.
“We don’t have the proper resources and facilities that will enhance our performance and capabilities. However, that did not dampen our spirit and we just had to improvise on the very limited resources available back at school.”
Yet Kuruduadua was in good spirits and believed his team gave it all in their preparations for this year’s games.
“I thank the parents, old scholars and teachers of Lomaivuna for tirelessly working together in unison for us to be able to come and attend the games this year. I also thank our rugby league committee for giving their tents for us to come and use it here at the grounds.”
“Mostly, I thank God for giving us this perfect weather to showcase what we have toiled together back at school and for our athletes to experience this level of competition with athletes from all over Fiji. We have prepared well but the only one who’s willing to give it all they got will win.”
Lomaivuna High School won its first medal yesterday by way of young intermediate girls 1500 meters runner, Akeneta Lutu. She won a well-deserved bronze medal for all her hard work and commitment.
Speaking on behalf of his daughter, Maciu Kurukibula was overjoyed.
“I thank God for today. I’m really happy and proud of my daughter. She has always ran the 3000 meters race but this year she chose to run in the 1500 meters and it has paid off.
“Village life is tough and sometimes I had to really push and motivate her to train, especially in the cold early mornings back in the highlands, and today she has won a bronze medal for her school.”
With a roll of 427 students, Lomaivuna High School brought 18 athletes. The team’s key focus will be in the long distances, middle distances and 4×4 relays.
Note: Akeneta Lutu also won gold in the intermediate girls’ 3000m.