The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee's (FASANOC’s) Voices of the Athletes (VOA) Programme conducted an outreach during the International Youth Football Academy Futsal Tournament held at the National Hockey Centre on Saturday the 25th July 2020.
11 VOA Champions covered a wide range of topics which combined the overarching message of “Be A Leader” to aspiring young footballers with the youngest athlete being three-years-old.
Champion and FASANOC Athletes’ Representative, Tessa Marie-Harman said each Champion was divided amongst the different teams at the start of the competition to draw in the crowd in assisting with delivering the message.
"We were able to deliver messages that the VOA's A program emphasises on which are: Play Safe, Play True, Go Green, Stay Healthy and Be A Leader," she said.
Tessa said it was encouraging to note that when seeking feedback from participants, they responded and stressed the importance of being good sportspeople and congratulating your team even when you’re on the losing end.
"At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who wins but making sure that you make many friends is what a good leader does,” said participant Kayden Dutt.
Olympian and Football rep Roy Krishna, who was the chief guest at the event, echoed the sentiments by VOA Champions and stressed the importance of respect for those around us and also for our team mates and opponents.
Tessa was assisted by fellow Football Champions Cecelia Nainima, Louisa Simmons, Luisa Tamanitoakula, Sekoula Waqanidrola, Kinisimere Ravai, Laisani Mataele, Swimmer Sevuloni Tuisorisori, Para-athlete Jone Bogidrau, Volleyballer Marica Togayali and Weightlifter Helen Seipua.
The VOA Programme had ceased all its outreach programmes to comply with Government restrictions and regulations during the COVID-19 lockdown.
VOA Coordinator Jeegar Bhavsar said with the easing of restrictions, the programme would continue to advocate its messages within communities, schools and sporting events.
The VOA Programme is part of the Athletes and Communities Engagement (ACE)Programme, which serves FASANOC's vision to "Inspire the People of Fiji through sporting excellence" and through its purpose which is to encourage, engage and empower athlete leaders and communities in Fiji.