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FIJ - Hoops for Health coaches benefit from workshop

Hoops for Health Fiji
Hoops for Health Fiji

SUVA - Hoops for Health coaches in Fiji have completed an intense five-day training programme so they can roll out the exciting programme which combines basketball and integrated educational messages about non-communicable diseases and making healthy lifestyle choices.

The 15 participants from Suva, Nadi and Lautoka undertook the classroom element of the course at the Fiji Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) while also going on to enjoy some practical work too.

Leading facilitator Lai Puamau, who is the National Basketball Development Officer of the Fiji Amateur Basketball Federation, reminded the coaches of the body's motto 'It's more than just basketball' - a sentiment echoed by FIBA Oceania who supported the event.

"The aim of 'Hoops for Health' is to improve health related behaviours and contribute to a reduction in the risk of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) through physical activities. It will also target areas such as improved governance, improve and create development partners and capacity building," said Puamau.

"The one week workshop was designed to inform and enlighten development coaches about the importance of highlighting and reducing the impact of NCDs in Fiji through basketball and sports in general.

"It is Basketball Fiji's goal to educate these young coaches and in turn have them teach it to their players.

"The Australian Sports Commission is providing funding to FIBA Oceania via Basketball Australia to support work in five countries which are Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru and Kiribati.

"Basketball Fiji has been chosen to pilot this programme for the Pacific."

Puamau was also backed by the Ministry of Health, STOP HIV Champion, Matai Akouila and Australian volunteer Catherine Grawich, who is also helping Fiji to prepare as hosts of the FIBA Oceania U19 Championship in November.

National basketball star Valerie Nainima who has played professionally for three seasons with with New Basket Oberhausen in Germany was also in attendance.

"Actions speak louder than words and young people follow their role models," she told the assembled coaches.

"So if you eat healthy and drink healthy, it automatically goes down to the younger people but you can also go to schools through basketball Fiji and just tell you them story.

"Since finishing college in the States, my eating has become so much better and when I feel better, I play better."

Basketball Fiji's Hoops for Health coaches wasted no time putting their skills into practice, introducing 3x3 to people of all abilities at the Olympic Day celebrations in partnership with FASANOC.

The Hoops for Health Coaches will also be assessed by Basketball Fiji to ensure they are delivering quality basketball sessions across more than 50 primary and secondary schools.

The Federation will ensure they are continuing to develop as coaches, increasing participation, encouraging healthy lifestyles choices and increasing the knowledge of non-communicable disease risk factors among school children.