The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) Chief Executive Officer, Lorraine Mar expects that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the financial and logistical arrangements for Team Fiji’s preparations and participation at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be severely impacted.
The Fiji Sports Commission recently informed FASANOC of an approved grant of $500,000 both preparations and participation for Birmingham 2022.
Ms Mar admitted the pandemic had taken its toll on Fiji’s build-up to the Games as it had for Tokyo 2020, but is still hopeful of success in the English city.
"Financially, it will be a challenge and we will be holding talks soon with National Federations whose sports are on the program" she said.
"This is the Commonwealth Games, an international event and we’re not going there just to participate, obviously we want to be competitive."
Ms Mar added that strict measures are likely to be in place locally and at the Games to limit the risk of transmission of the virus.
"We will need to make sure that proper counter measures and protocols are followed and Team Fiji has learnt a lot from the Tokyo 2020 experience. Pages will be taken out of the IOC Tokyo 2020 Playbook as well as the Team Fiji Standard Operating Procedures," she said.
Fiji enjoyed its most successful Commonwealth Games since Auckland 1950 at the last edition in 2018.
Team Fiji sent 96 athletes to the Gold Coast, with Eileen Cikamatana winning a Weightlifting Gold in the women’s -90-kilogram division - its first Gold at the Games since Manchester 2002where Naca Takayawa won a Gold medal in Judo.
The Men’s Rugby Sevens team clinched Silver, while two Bronzemedals won by Weightlifting’s Apolonia Vaivai and Boxing’s Winston Hill, took Fiji’s overall Commonwealth Games medal tally to four Golds, four Silvers and eight Bronze medals.
The Men’s Rugby Sevens team, whose best performance has been a Silver medal at a Commonwealth Games, have qualified for Birmingham 2022.
The Games will be held from 28 July until 8 August 2022 and will be packed full of sport with around 4,500 athletes from 72 Commonwealth nations and territories participating, as well as a six-month cultural festival to take place across the West Midlands, making Birmingham 2022 the largest sporting and cultural event to take place in the UK since the 2012 London Olympics.
Team Fiji will soon be making announcements on the appointment of the Chef de Mission for Birmingham 2022, as well as the upcoming Games in 2022, 2023 and 2024.