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Della To Make Olympic Debut

Fiji, amongst athletes from various sports will also be represented by two Technical Officials and three Doping Control Officials at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which starts on 23 June 2021.

Fiji’s former “Weightlifting Golden Girl”, Della Shaw-Elder will make her debut on the Olympic stage along with recently announced Rugby’s Technical Official, Referee Tevita Rokovereni also making his debut in the Women’s Rugby Sevens event along with another 10 referees from different countries.

Della, prior to becoming a Technical Official was a gold medal-winning weightlifter for Fiji, and is the Pacific’s only International Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) Female Category 1 Technical Official. She also now is a IWF Level 1 Club and International Educator for the sport of Weightlifting.

Della has refereed at major international weightlifting competitions including two Senior World Championships, two Junior World Championships, the Commonwealth Games and the Youth World Championships.  The Olympic Games will be the pinnacle of her career as a technical official.

Della last officiated at the virtually held, IWF Youth World Cup in Lima, Peru in 2019.

Shaw, is the President of Weightlifting Fiji and the only female executive on the Executive Board of the Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation.

World Rugby, in celebrating the 100 Days to Go Countdown to Tokyo 2020 on 17 April, announced their Squad of 22 match officials for the women’s and men’s rugby sevens competitions for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The match officials’ squad contains representatives from 12 countries spread across four continents and includes eight female referees. The group includes a blend of highly experienced referees and exciting young talent making their debuts on the Olympic stage, including Fiji’s own, Tevita Rokovereni.

The individuals were selected by the World Rugby’s Match Official Selection Committee following a comprehensive review of performances and fitness. All selected referees have proven themselves on the annual HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and many also featured at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“We are proud of the leading position that rugby enjoys in the mutual respect and values demonstrated between match officials and players. The Olympic Games present an excellent opportunity to showcase the very best of rugby on the greatest sporting stage on the planet and I have every confidence that the individuals announced today will represent themselves and the sport with great integrity, skill and pride in Tokyo” said World Rugby High Performance Sevens Referee Manager Paddy O’Brien.

Tevita, who hails from Tailevu, has been refereeing since 2008 and has refereed in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and in the 2017 Oceania U20 Championship and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“Technical Officials are part and parcel of the Olympic Games, just as much as the athletes are pivotal to the standard of play on the field of play, no matter what sport is being played. FASANOC shares the honour of being selected for the Olympic Games with these outstanding Technical Officials”, said FASANOC CEO Lorraine Mar.

A lot of work goes into reaching this level and I congratulate Della and Tevita and wish them the best for Tokyo 2020, said Mar.

Della and Tevita will join other Technical Officials who have represented Fiji on the world stage. The previous Technical Officials who have represented Fiji at past Olympic Games are;

   The Late Vijendra Pal Sharma – Weightlifting, Atlanta 1984 Olympic Games
   Filimoni Vuli Waqa – Athletics, Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
   The Late Dennis Miller – Swimming, Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
   Ravinesh Kumar – Football, London 2012 Olympic Games
   James Bolabiu – Rugby, Rio 2016 Olympic Games
   Ernest Movick – Hockey, 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organization’s (ORADO) Doping Control Officers (DCOs) Nyla Alfred, Mosese Finau and Doping Control Program Manager, Fatafehi Daunivuka have also been invited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to be part of the team that will be conducting Anti-Doping tests at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Nyla and Mosese will be part of the team at the Olympic Games whilst Fatafehi will help out at the Paralympic Games that starts two weeks after the Olympic Games.

Lorraine also said, “this is fantastic news and is testament to the work that is being done by ORADO in levelling the playing field in Oceania. I know the three of them have been involved in training Team Fiji’s Athletes and Officials on Anti-Doping protocols and procedures in the event an athlete is called for testing.”

“I’m sure the trio will learn a lot from this experience and pass on the experience to their colleagues as well as Fiji’s athletes upon their return” she said.

Meanwhile, we are 43 days away from the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo 2020 with Team Fiji departing for Japan on 08 July 2021 where they will be based in Oita at a Pre-Games Training Camp.