Editorial comment – When the curtains fall

Team Fiji during the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. Picture: FASANOC

As the curtains closed on the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in England, sporting enthusiasts will look back with mixed emotions. We have been competing at the event for decades.

We prepare well, and we come off with many fond memories. This time, as the hosts turned up the beat, and lit up the sky, the glitter, colours and magical atmosphere was the backdrop for thousands of athletes to reflect on two weeks of intense competition.

At the end of it all, Fiji managed two silver and two bronze medals at the 2022 Games. Attention now shifts to Victoria in Australia which will host the next Games in 2026.

Fiji’s two silver medals came from the men’s and women’s 7s rugby teams and the two bronze medals were won by weightlifter Taniela Rainibogi in the men’s 96kg competition, and Naibili Vatunisolo in the Women’s F42-44/61-64 discus.

The Earl of Wessex Prince Edward officially declared the Games closed after the flag handover to Victoria. The pomp and ceremony attached to the event is something athletes and fans look forward to. It ends the event on a high. Now memories will linger.

The event is an opportunity for athletes to gauge themselves against some of the best in the business, test themselves and for many, it’s an opportunity to live their dreams, and win medals. This is when commitment, perseverance and dedication are rewarded.

This is when skills come to the fore, and experience and maturity are valuable assets. It is a platform where friendships are strengthened, old ties renewed and new ones made. The Games are special for many reasons.

As our athletes return home, we can now reflect on the event, and their achievements, and look forward to the future with optimism. Our challenge now is to ask the question – where to now? And find the answer! Because that will then determine how we prepare for Victoria.

At many Games, over many decades, we have fallen back on the line that such events are good for personal bests, and for development, with some medals thrown in.

The key now, moving forward, is for us to find ways to consolidate our strengths in various competitions, raise the standard of our preparation, and target a better finish in 2026. The best thing is that we now have four years to target gold medals!

We have learnt a lot in Birmingham, hopefully developed as well, and are in a better position to improve at the next game.

And the best thing is we have time on our side – four years to organise funds and resources, and plan a strategy to achieve our goals!

Every effort must be made to analyse our campaign in Birmingham, look at our shortcomings, focus on our strengths, work on addressing any requirements, and plan for the future.

Acknowledgement is due to all our athletes who made the cut, and gave their best against some of the world’s top athletes in a much anticipated event. Vinaka!

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