Volunteers - The Force Behind the FIBA Melanesian Cup 2022
SUVA (Fiji) – As the curtain falls on the FIBA Melanesian Cup 2022 in Suva, the hard work in training and practice have been offloaded on the court during the four-day tournament and teams will return home.
While the respective teams danced on the court, displaying their individual and team brilliance, there has been another team working tirelessly off the court ensuring the success of the tournament.
Approximately forty volunteers supported the tournament from logistics to operations and everything in-between.
Amongst them, Lani Vugakoto, a grade four student of Mount Saint Mary’s in Nadi, has been executing her role with utmost diligence.
The nine-year old who is the youngest in the volunteer brigade is enjoying participating at the tournament and said, “I am having fun and the best part is being court side for this tournament.”
She eagerly anticipates her eleventh birthday, when she would be eligible to join a basketball club. Until then, she is happy to have one of the best seats in the arena learning all the skills and tricks of the game from some the best players in the region.
“Watching basketball helps me learn basketball and I love being part of this amazing tournament,” Lani said.
Lani’s Dad and Tournament Director, Samisoni Vugakoto, reiterates the importance of volunteering and sports participation in child for development.
“For Basketball Fiji, it is more than just basketball, it’s also about outreach and volunteering,” Vugakoto said. “We are bonding as a family and it’s great to see the excitement of the children every morning, looking forward to continuing their voluntary work.
“In this digital age, kids tend to spend time on gadgets, I’m so happy, this week alone, I haven’t seen the kids use their gadgets. Their participation in sports addresses two important aspects, health, and social development.”
Chief Operating Officer for Basketball Fiji, Lai Puamau, shares the same sentiments and stresses the importance of having volunteers at all events.
“At this event, we have sports science students from Fiji National University who we currently have a partnership with, we have specialists from Fiji Medical Sports Commission who is providing us with doctors and physiotherapist for this event and volunteers from the greater basketball family,” Puamau said.
“Volunteering is a need, a global need for any event. We are blessed to have a strong working group that is here organizing and making this event happen. Volunteers are the backbone of any event or any organization and without them, this event would not have any legs to stand on.”
FIBA - Finau Vulivuli