FASANOC has followed with some concern the conflict between its affiliate, Weightlifting Fiji and the athletes and officials of the Levuka Weightlifting Club.
While FASANOC respects the autonomy of Weightlifting Fiji as a National Federation, it also wanted to ensure that the athletes concerned had relevant and correct information on which to make informed decisions that would impact on their future in the sport.
In a statement FASANOC President Joe Rodan Senior said with this in mind FASANOC convened a delegation to visit the athletes and officials in Levuka. This delegation consisted of Makarita Lenoa (Vice President FASANOC), Dr Robin Mitchell (President Fiji Hockey Federation), Manasa Baravilala (President Boxing Fiji) and Makelesi Batimala (Athletes Representative).
The delegation travelled to Levuka on Wednesday, 30 May, 2018.
Through a traditional approach to the Tui Levuka and by his kind permission, the delegation was able to have a “talanoa session” with the athletes and officials who were given the opportunity to share their grievances openly.
The FASANOC delegation in turn, shared their own experiences and knowledge of how the structure of sports works in Fiji and the impact this conflict could have on the pathway of these high performing athletes, particularly on those who had secured International Olympic Committee scholarships for Tokyo 2020.
Although the Levuka athletes and officials subsequently maintained their stance to continue their boycott of the Weightlifting Fiji team, as well as their refusal to train with the new international coach, the FASANOC delegation did leave with a positive note that the group was prepared to have dialogue with the Weightlifting Fiji Executive Board, on condition that the meeting is chaired by an independent facilitator.
On the FASANOC delegation’s return, arrangements were made for this meeting to be held at Fiji Olympic House on Sunday 10 June at 10.00 am, with the FASANOC delegation in attendance.
Although the Levuka Club has since stated that the meeting must be held in Levuka, it is hoped that at least the Levuka officials who are on the Board of Weightlifting Fiji and senior athletes will travel to Suva for this meeting.
FASANOC would like to stress that the resolution to this conflict can only come from within the weightlifting fraternity itself. No other party or parties have the power to decide on what is best for weightlifting in Fiji.