The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) Athletes and Communities Engagement (ACE) Programme through its Voices of the Athletes (VOA) Champions started their first outreach of the year with the Fiji Rugby Sevens Women’s squad preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The VOA Champions included Selestino Selevasio (Gymnastics), Joana Lesi (Cricket), Cecelia Nainima and Louisa Simmons (Football) and focused mainly on the Anti-Doping and the Go Green components of the programme.
VOA Officer, Matelita Vuakoso said while they have a variety of topics that their champions are trained to speak on, they choose carefully which issues to advocate on depending on the time of the sessions.
"We work according to the schedule and time frame given to us and because of this we chose only two topics which we thought should be a priority for the athletes," she said.
"The Anti-Doping component informed the athletes on the rules and regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency and Drug Free Sport Fiji, including their rights as athletes when approached for testing."
She said the second topic was mainly on "Go Green" because of the impact rubbish had on the environment and how they as athletes could contribute and be good role models for their own communities.
"Some of the senior players who have gone through the programme were helpful and interacting with not only us but also their fellow team mates," Matelita said.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games hopeful, Verenaisi Bari said she was aware of the "Go Green" messages and was thankful for the reminder.
"The Anti-Doping was new for me and also educational because now I know that I am responsible for what goes into my body," she said.
The ACE Programme serves Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee’s (FASANOC’s) vision to "Inspire the People of Fiji through sporting excellence" by encouraging, engaging and empowering athlete leaders to become advocates for the Olympic Values, True Spirit of Sport and Social Messages.
FASANOC's ACE Programme builds athletes capacities in a pathway designed to help them become empowered and grow leadership qualities outside of the sporting arena.
To be eligible for this Programme, the athletes, known as Champions must have been national representatives of their sport.
Through the VOA programme ,FASANOC is committed to supporting the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) message about the positive health, social and economic impacts of sport on society.
In this regard FASANOC was excited to further promote the IOC’s #StrongerTogether campaign by running Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on Social media, showcasing Athlete Champions who relayed messages on social problems such as making healthy choices, staying active, not littering and antidoping.
You can view some of the PSAs on the FASANOC page, fasanoc.org.fj.