3


THE HONOURABLE ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR YOUTH AND SPORTS
ILIESA DELANA


• Dignitaries
• Invited Guests
• Members of sporting bodies
• Participants
• Ladies and Gentlemen

Bula vinaka, Namaste, Salaam aleikum and a very good evening to you all!

I am delighted to be here this evening at this boxing program organized here in the “friendly North”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I must also acknowledge the effort of the organizers who like many other organizers and promoters are trying their best to revive the sport in our country.

In particular I would like to acknowledge and thank Mr. Simon the promoter for this event. I sincerely thank you for bringing the program to the Friendly North.

I also acknowledge the work being done by the Boxing Commission of Fiji in leading the revival of professional boxing in the country. This is after a long period where there was very little activity. I ask you to support the Commission as they work with the stakeholders to ensure quality and safe boxing bouts take place around the country.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports is also committed to assist in the development of all sports through our national sports organisations. Our focus is to make each sport more inclusive regardless of gender, ethnicity and physical ability.

Ladies and Gentlemen, sport has an inherent value – the acts of participating, competing and spectating form an important part of our culture.

Our sports are national passions and increasingly they are becoming commercial assets. But sport is also much more. Sport teaches us incredibly important lessons about life.

It teaches us about the joy of triumph, but also about learning to be resilient when we lose, how to lose gracefully.

Participating in sports, physical activities and games – having fun - helps us learn how to tackle difficult situations in life while keeping our body relaxed and mind free of tension.

It develops the habit of working in teams by developing the sense of trust among team members, coaches and trainers.

It provides us with mental and physical toughness by shaping our bodies and minds and removing tiredness and lethargy. It also improves blood circulation all through the body improving our physical and mental well-being.

Sport and games are activities which make us more efficient. In the modern education system, physical education is an integral part of the curriculum. This is done to make education interesting, tension free and enjoyable.

The Government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, is developing sporting facilities both in rural and urban areas so that students, youths and individuals having interest in sports and games activities are provided better pathway to their future.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not need to convince this particular audience of the many merits of the sport of boxing. Not only is it perhaps the best sport to develop overall fitness, but it is also one that instils such valuable qualities of character in those who undertake it – such as tactical awareness, endurance, discipline and self-control.

Importantly, like other sports, it teaches one that losing is part of life that one can learn from and that success comes from hard work, commitment and discipline.

Therefore, Boxers, Ladies and Gentlemen I urge you all to continue supporting the sport and assisting those who are helping it to expand.

One of the greatest boxing icons, Muhammed Ali, once said “I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.”

With those few words I wish the boxers all the best and may we all have a great evening.

Vinaka, Dhanyabad, Shokran and thank you all.