3

THE HONOURABLE ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, RURAL AND MARITIME DEVELOPMENT
Mr. VIAM PILLAY

06 April 2019 at 9.30 a.m.

The President of the Ba Rugby Union,
Officials,
Invited guests
Participating teams
Ladies and Gentlemen
_____________________________________________

Bula Vinaka, Mu Cola Vina and a very good morning to you all.

It is indeed a privilege to have been invited to officially open the 2019 season of the Ba Rugby Union.

My appreciation to all those involved behind the scenes in making this programme happen and those who will continue to work tirelessly to the conclusion of the season.

Sports such as rugby play an important role in the country and we have witnessed how it can bring people together and set our differences aside.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sports has been regarded as an agent for social change. It has a multiple effect on any nation or society.

As your Government, we are not just looking at propelling sports in Fiji but delivering a holistic program that is inclusive of all despite gender, physical or racial background.

We want to create an environment where people feel free to participate in any sporting activities, stay actively fit and healthy and at the same time be recognised for their efforts in the sporting arena.

I believe there is much more work that needs to be done, we are still far from reaching our true potentials as a sport loving country.

Ladies and Gentlemen, rugby is known to have created successful pathways for many of our rugby players over the years. Many were identified playing in our local tournaments and have went on to make Fijians proud overseas in the respective club tournaments or while representing our nation in international tournaments.

We are gifted with talented players and I must commend the province of BA for contributing with world class players who have made Fiji proud. Players like Pio Tuwai, Gabirieli Naborisi,Josua Tuisova, Viliame Satala, Waisea Nacuqu, Kaliane Nasoko of Yasawa to name a few.

This basically means that you have the ability and the players to carry the name of the Ba Rugby Union to the national and international stage. The Ba Market ground is not the end but the beginning.

I am optimistic that this year will be a great year for Ba Rugby Union as witnessed in the growth in numbers of clubs over the years.

The work of the Ba Rugby Union is commended as I am told that the union is embarking on a new journey as you attempt to unite all the youths of Ba from the highlands as far as Nadrugu to the coastal villages of Votua and Nawaqarua.

With a total of 16 Clubs and with over 500 players coupled with the centralised competition at the Ba Market ground reflect’ s the union stance in working in alignment with Government’s all inclusive policy.

This weekly rugby competition can be termed as healthy socialising.

Sports, Ladies and Gentleman also play the important role of imparting character values. Playing sports can help teach honesty, teamwork and fair play.

Competition in general can teach individuals about self-respect, confidence and managing stress. Learning to follow rules and respecting teammates and opponents can also be useful. Experiencing the role of a graceful winner and loser teaches people about being humble.

Your being here today is your commitment towards your team and the union.
While Government promotes values and social cohesion through national sports development, it is organized sports tournament such as the Ba Rugby Union’s season that helps bring about a healthy, vibrant and physically active nation at a domestic level.

Meeting here weekly also encourages the buildup of networking amongst your members and extends to your clubs and respective communities. It encourages dialogue and awareness and promotes unity towards a worthy cause.

On that note, I wish to remind you all on the importance of good governance in sports. Good governance is a foundation for building sports excellence in any country.

It is therefore important that office bearers uphold its principles of accountability, transparency and equity for the good conduct of the club and its impending plans. I call on each of you to work together for the fulfilment of your combined aspirations.
Before I conclude, I want to urge you to look ahead to the future and work towards the continued success of Ba Rugby Union.

Ladies and Gentlemen, and to the participating teams in the 2019 season of the Ba Rugby Union, I would like to leave you all with a quote from the French poet Victor Hugo and I quote “Being good is easy, what is difficult is being just.” Unquote.

I hope that good sporting behavior prevails during the season and you will always promote inclusivity, equality and fairness throughout.

Finally, I would like to wish all the participating teams all the best and hope you all enjoy the 2019 season.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I now have much pleasure in declaring the BA RUGBY UNION 2019 SEASON OPEN.

Vinaka vakalevu, thank you all and don’t forget to pray and cheer for our boys playing at the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend!