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Our athletes gain respect at Comm Games

Pacific islands athletes competing in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games have showed true resilience and a fighting spirit as they emerge out of the pandemic to go up against some of the biggest names in sports.

For them, competing in the games was more than about winning. It was about inspiring the next generation of Pacific island athletes.

Speaking to the Oceania National Olympics Committee (ONOC) media, Samoan discus thrower Alex Rose said being a good sportsperson was not always about wanting to win, but wanting to win when everyone else is at their best as well.

Samoan discus thrower Alex Rose said being a good sportsperson was not always about wanting to win, but wanting to win when everyone else is at their best as well. Picture: Alex Rose Instagram

“I want to win when my friends and my competitors are also doing well. It is good to see everyone succeed,” she said.

From the impacts and setbacks of the COVID pandemic in the region crippling most, of all regional sporting competitions and developments, athletes had re-invented their training schedules heading into the games.

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Vanuatu Beach Volleyball President Debbie Masauvakalo speaking to ONOC said, “I think resilience, also commitment, and dedication makes a good sportsperson.”

Team Kiribati during the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Picture: ONOC Facebook

According to ONOC, the Pacific Islands teams competing in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games showed great sportsmanship even in defeat.

“During Fiji’s rugby sevens finals, both men and women’s teams accepted their defeats and disappointment like true heroes. The men congratulated the South African team, the women the Australian team, with embraces, handshakes, and words of best wishes,” the ONOC press release read.

ONOC highlighted that these sorts of gestures that demonstrated respect continued when they were awarded their medals, kneeling as each medal was presented.

Team Nauru during the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Picture Team Nauru: Sefanaia Takape

“They knelt and clapped three times after receiving their medals, a traditional custom is known as “cobo” (pronounced- thombo). This made an impression on the crowd as they witnessed this humble and respectful act,” said ONOC.

Fijian sprinter Banuve Tabakaucoro said true sportsmanship is what made competitions such as the Commonwealth exciting.

“A sportsman is humble. Being humble and just acknowledging that the little people bring the competition as well,”  said Tabakaucoro.

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