Athletes’ nutritional behavior should be a major focus for Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee's (FASANOC’s) Medical Commission and not just during a team assembly said National Food and Nutrition Centre program manager, Jowalesi Taukei.
Mrs Taukei was part of a FASANOC Medical Commission stakeholder workshop that was held over the weekend continuing the Medical Commission’s review of its Terms of Reference and how it would align itself to FASANOC's vision which was to "Inspire the People of Fiji through Sporting Excellence."
Attending the workshop were also FASANOC Chief Executive Officer Lorraine Mar, Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organisation representatives including Executive Officer, Natanya Potoi-Ulia, representatives of Drug Free Sports Fiji, including its Chairman, Nicholas Barnes, William Bennion, a representative from the Athletes Commission and members of the Medical Commission, including Coaches Albert Miller and Henry Elder.
Mrs Taukei highlighted during the workshop the importance of athletes nutritional behavior, pre, during and post games.
"Good nutrition is one of the major musts for elite athletes but there is only so much that we as nutritionists can do," she said.
"When these athletes go home, their nutrition is based on income and/or availability."
FASANOC Medical Commission member and Weightlifting coach, Henry Elder said coaches and managers could only do so much for their athletes.
"We do what we can for our athletes in terms of their training and conditioning and we do stress the importance of nutrition but at the end of the day they will eat what is affordable or cooked at home," he said.
Henry highlighted how the FASANOC Medical Commission could assist to make it easier and affordable but realistically what is available out there for the athletes was the challenge.
FASANOC Medical Commission Chair, Doctor Jone Nasome said they reached several resolutions, of which one was to develop a working group to develop a framework that is tailor made for Fiji athletes.
"We also have to see if we have the budget to incorporate a nutritional aspect of athlete preparation," he said.
Dr Nasome said the importance of the workshop was to continue to consult and strengthen the operations of the Medical Commission.
He said the International Olympic Committee has made available tools and resources specific to nutrition.
"We will go through these resources and tools and see what we can use and integrate into our own Terms of Reference which will help us enhance our relationship with athletes and managers within an Olympiad and in the longer term," he said.
Dr Nasome said it was important to note that there were six games that Team Fiji was involved in in the coming four years.
"All our doctors, nurses and medical specialists including physiotherapists, psychologists and nutritionists are all volunteers.
"We hope that the Medical Commission will be able to work with Team Fiji so that we are involved not only during the Games but also the preparations and post stages of the Games so that our athletes are given the best possible assistance."
Dr Nasome said the Commission’s current Terms of Reference, Selection Criteria and Roles and Responsibility had to change to adopt the advances of modern medicine and sports science.
"Sports Science and Sports Medicine changes and evolves and it is important that we as a Commission are aware of these changes," he said.
Dr Nasome who has been a part of Team Fiji to several Games said they had learned lessons from the past and now they have another four years to ensure that FASANOC's Medical Commission is in a great position to provide athletes with the best care possible.