on 22 March 2019

• High Commissioner of Australia – Mr John Feakes
• Dignitaries
• Commissioner of Police
• Invited Guests and FABA Officials
• Ladies and Gentlemen

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

I am delighted to be invited to this event in support of the Fiji Amateur Boxing Association and the Johnny Lewis Fiji Sports Project partnership.

May I also acknowledge the efforts of the organisers from Australia and Fiji who have been working tirelessly to revive and develop the amateur boxing in our country.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this initiative by the Johnny Lewis Fiji Sports Projects in conjunction with One Dream Australia and Fiji both of which are private pro-bono initiatives established to assist Fiji sports people.

In doing so, the project has set a target to achieve their goal by:

 Providing local access to Olympic level technical training, facilities and equipment;

 Establishing pathways for athletes to access both international training facilities, programs and competitive platforms;

 Providing higher educational opportunities (in support of the athletes sporting endeavour) via scholarships to foreign learning institutions.

Boxing was a popular sport in Fiji in the past but had lost its momentum along the way. This Government through the Ministry of Youth & Sports, the National Sports Commission and Fiji Amateur Boxing Association is working in collaboration in reviving amateur boxing in the country.

The Fiji First Governments commitment is to ensure Fiji has the best sports facilities in preparing our athletes for local and international competitions.

As a demonstration of our obligation to the boxing fraternity, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is working on the upgrade of the old PWD Boxing Gym “the home of amateur boxing in Fiji” in Walu Bay. This we hope to have it completed and ready by the middle of the year.

Ladies and gentlemen, Government views this type of partnership seriously because it has both tangible and intangible benefits for our boxers. With this assistance I can already envisage positive outcomes - yielding boxing excellence for Fiji in the Pacific Games in Samoa in July and beyond.

Ladies and Gentlemen with that said, it is profound to acknowledge Mr Johnny Lewis for his determination to rejuvenate the sport and ensuring that our boxers train in facilities with Olympic standards.

Among other things Mr Lewis is a legendary boxing trainer with six (6) world champions on his resume’.

We are grateful that with his commitment to make this partnership work, Mr Lewis has placed a large quantity of boxing equipment and training gear and two brand new AIBA certified Olympic Boxing Rings with the Fiji Amateur Boxing Association for the development of amateur boxing in Fiji – and for this we are forever grateful.

And I say this with confidence – with the high class training facilities provided through this partnership, Fiji will be a top contender for medals in the Pacific Games in Samoa in July 2019 and the 2020 Tokyo Qualifications Tournament.

I therefore on behalf of the Fijian Government and the Fijian Boxing community I extend our sincere appreciation to Mr Lewis.

Remember as the Ministry of Youth and Sports we are ready to render assistance to the great work you have been doing. And that is to prepare our boxers well and yield great results for our country.

To the officials, boxers and potential boxers, I encourage you all to maximize the facilities and equipment’s kindly provided to us by Mr Lewis in association with “One Dream – Australia & Fiji”. I salute the grand efforts and sacrifice made in re-energizing amateur boxing in Fiji.

With those few words I wish Fiji Amateur Boxing and the boxers the best and we hope to win more gold medals in the Pacific games in Samoa.

Vinaka, Dhanyabad, Shokran and thank you all.