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All Female Media and Commentary Team at FIBA Melanesian Cup

GOLD COAST (Australia) – The FIBA Melanesian Cup 2022 was led for the first time by an all-female commentary and media team with the support of the Women in News and Sports Program.

The Women in News and Sport (WINS) initiative is a training and mentoring program that provides female journalists in the Pacific and Asia with the tools to carve out a career in sports journalism.

FIBA in collaboration with WINS, teamed up for the FIBA Melanesian Cup 2022 Asinate Wainiqolo (freelance commentator), and Melinda Saga’itu-Atalifo (Mai TV commentator) leading the all-female commentary team.  WINS alumni Finau Vulivuli and Loata Waqanivavalagi, also commentated and contributed to other event media production including articles and post-game interviews.

“In October when I got another chance to call commentary at the FIBA Melanesian Cup, I took it both hands and I truly am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow and enjoy every single moment of it,” said Saga’itu-Atalifo.   “With 16 basketball games under my belt I am excited to be in this space and look forward to more opportunities.

“Before this opportunity with FIBA, I had a very basic understanding of basketball.  Now I know more and I under stats better and I would say definitely in my top three sports for sure.”

Finau Vulivuli experienced commentating and basketball event media communications for the first time and commented on how the partnership with FIBA and WINS has empowered her to get involved with sports media.

“Being part of the event from pre-tournament, writing my first sports articles, to doing side-line interviews, commentary and facilitating the media events, provided a dynamic range of roles that I had to step-up to,” Vulivuli said.  “Even though, sports media and marketing is a new space personally, I believe being confident, adaptable and always having a go-getter attitude contributed a lot.  Additionally, having a great and experienced mentor to show us the ropes and provide guidance and tips during the sports event, was invaluable.”

Attending her first major FIBA event as WINS Alumni, Loata Waqanivavalagi was inspired by the females contributing to the event media.  “I personally felt empowered when I see female sports writers and commentary hosts working alongside me.  Learning from the best and the WINS program has definitely left an impact on female in sports here in Fiji.

“Being part of the WINS program has given me confidence to report on sporting events, in this case FIBA Melanesian Cup 2022.  I have learnt to better understand the sports and its terminologies and how to use creative words in commentary.”

Working across three areas; providing skills training and industry knowledge; improving multi-platform content creation; and networking with other women in media and sport, WINS is changing the game. 

“It has been an eye opener being in the same spaces as women who have paved the way in a male dominated sports industry,” Saga’itu-Atalifo said about the training opportunities and workshops provided by WINS.  “It’s a totally new space but it got me super excited to venture outside my comfort zone.”

“Wherever possible, ensuring equal coverage and visibility of men and women sports, and using my ‘voice’ on various platforms to change mindsets on the perception of women’s equal participation and opportunities in sports, especially in the Pacific is valuable,” Vulivuli added to Saga’itu-Atalifo's comments.  “I hope my involvement, inspires the next generation of females to reach higher and break the bias.”

The WINS program includes mentoring participants through sports coverage and seeks to promote women in sport from elite to community levels and amplify women’s voices in sports coverage.  Karen Shrosbery is the WINS Program Manager/Trainer with ABC International Development and said the program is inspiring women across the Pacific and Asia to get involved in sports media.

“This year (2022) has been great for giving our WINS alumni the opportunity to experience live sport coverage firsthand following two years of pandemic restrictions – and FIBA has played a significant role,” Shrosbery said.

“WINS sees great value in working together with sporting bodies like FIBA Oceania because it provides exposure for the women to international events – which not only improves their skills but builds their confidence.”

WINS is run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's International Development Unit (ABCID) and is supported by the Australian Government through the Team Up program until 2022. This project builds on two previous phases since WINS began in 2016.