An Opportunity To Coach Team Fiji Judo

An opportunity to coach Team Fiji Judo at tournaments, is what Judo’s Development Officer Veniana Ravesi has set her sights on for the near future after attending a WISH programme at the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.

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November 9, 2022

An opportunity to coach Team Fiji Judo at tournaments, is what Judo’s Development Officer Veniana Ravesi has set her sights on for the near future after attending a Women In Sport High Performance Pathway (WISH) programme last week with the support of Olympic Solidarity at the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.

The 22-year-old Judo Development Officer was identified and selected by International Judo Federation (IJF)  as  a participant for the WISH programme. The programme is designed to equip women coaches, who have the potential and ambition, to succeed in gaining roles at elite coaching levels within their sport.

"I was very grateful for the opportunity to be part of this scholarship, a big thank you to those who have helped me get this far in my career. Vinaka vakalevu to my family, Fiji Judo, International Judo Federation, Olympic Solidarity, the University of Hertfordshire Institute of Sports and the people behind the WISH programme.

"From what I learnt during the programme I hope to be able to inspire others in the sport,” Veniana said.

“With the training received, I hope to develop myself, drive my performance, empower others and use the GROW concept to help answer my Goal, Reality, Options and Will questions."

Veniana said she also learnt the importance of personal well being so it does not affect the athlete’s performance.

"It is also crucial for me as a coach to create a backroom, a network team that will help and support my ideas and decision making and managing conflict.

"I was impressed with the trainers and how they were interactive in their approach with us in training which made us very comfortable.

"By participating in this programme, I want to develop my skills in coaching and take back the knowledge that I have gained to help athletes reach their full potential, particularly female athletes in judo," she said.

Veniana said a highlight for her during the programme was being mentored by current CEO of U.S. Agency for Global Media Amanda Bennett.

Veniana and her WISH Mentor Amanda Bennett

"Amanda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, investigative journalist and editor and to be given the opportunity to learn from an amazing woman about confidence and leadership is a fantastic opportunity for me," she said.

Veniana also got the opportunity to interview University of Hertfordshire Professor and Head of the Institute of Sport and Co Founder of the WISH Programme Elizabeth Pike.

Veniana who is currently pursuing Sports Science at the Fiji National University, was informed about the WISH programme by her National Federation, the Fiji Judo Association.

Veniana, participated at the 2019 Pacific Games as an athlete, took up the role of coaching after noticing the lack of female coaches in her sport.

"As a former athlete, I am aware of the special needs that female athletes have in preparing for competitive sports.

"However, with the lack of female coaches in Judo, I want to bridge that gap to ensure that all female athletes have the same resources and information that is given to their male counterparts," she said.

She said she also wanted to look at the technical and physical needs that female athletes require to enhance their development to the next level.

Dean of the Hertfordshire university Sharon Harrison-Barker and Veniana

The WISH Programme is a joint initiative between Olympic Solidarity and a number of International Federations, bringing together outstanding High Performance Coaches from around the world and providing a unique opportunity and an environment for learning that will support women High Performance Coaches to further develop their coaching skills in a high performance domain, leadership behaviours and confidence to progress their career path.

Taking into account that women represent 10 per cent of coaches at the Olympic Games, the IOC has resolved to coordinate the development of an action plan in collaboration with International Federations (IFs) & National Olympic Committees (NOCs), for more women to be eligible and selected to participate at World Championships and the Olympic Games”.

FASANOC Chief Executive Officer, Lorraine Mar, commended Veniana for taking up the challenge to bridge the gap in a male dominated sport as well address the lack of women coaches across all sports.  

"The WISH programme is a welcomed initiative and FASANOC looks forward to making this opportunity available to more women in the future," she said.

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