Athletics Fiji mourns the loss of President Vuli Waqa

Athletics Fiji mourns the loss of President Vuli Waqa

By Alipate Narawa
Wednesday 22/05/2024
The late Mr Filimoni Vuli Waqa.

The President at Athletics Fiji and Secretary at Fiji Secondary Schools' Athletics Association Filimoni Vuli Waqa, affectionately known as Vuli Waqa, has passed away.

Vuli passed away on Sunday.

Athletics Fiji says he dedicated over 45 years of his life to the sport he loved dearly and with heavy hearts, they bid farewell to a beloved icon of Fiji, Oceania and World athletics community.

They say during his remarkable tenure, Vuli served with distinction as President or Secretary of Athletics Fiji for more than two decades, and as the Secretary of the Fiji Secondary Schools' Athletics Association for over four decades.

Athletics Fiji say Vuli's enduring legacy shines brightest through his nearly four-decade tenure as Competition Director of the annual Fiji Secondary Schools' Coca Cola Games.

They say under his leadership, this event has flourished into the largest high school athletics competition in the southern hemisphere, standing as Fiji's premier sporting spectacle each year.

The Athletics body says central to Vuli's vision is the nurturing of young talent, a passion reflected in the Games' role as a cornerstone for identifying and honing promising athletes.

They says many of these talents, discovered through the Games, have risen to represent Fiji across a diverse array of sports including Athletics, Football, Hockey, Netball, Rugby, Triathlon, and numerous others.

Athletics Fiji say Vuli's impact transcends Fiji's borders, evident through his influential positions such as Vice President of the Oceania Athletics Association (OAA) and his eight-year tenure on the OAA Council.

They say since 1979, Vuli's unwavering dedication as a technical official and lecturer for World Athletics (formerly known as the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF)) has profoundly shaped the athletic landscape, not only in Fiji but also on a regional scale.

Athletics Fiji say his tireless commitment has left an indelible mark on the landscape of athletics in Fiji and beyond.

They say Vuli started his sporting career as a Physical Education Teacher at Ratu Sukuna Memorial School and went on to head the Curriculum Development Unit for Physical Education in the Ministry of Education.

The Sporting body say he was also the Secretary of the Fijian teachers Association Credit Union for several decades.

They say as we approach the 2024 Oceania Championships set to take place in Suva during the first week of June, we reflect on the pivotal role of Vuli Waqa, who served as the Competition Director for the very successful inaugural Oceania Athletics Championships in Suva back in 1990.

Athletics Fiji say Vuli went on to officiate as a Technical Official at several of the Pacific Games and Oceania Championships right up to the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara, and various prestigious global events such as the World Junior Athletics Championships in Sydney in 1989, 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

They say his sterling contributions and unwavering commitment to Athletics in Fiji and the Oceania Region were recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including the Athletics Fiji Member of World Athletics, Oceania Athletics Association, Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committees.

Athletics Fiji say his awards and accolades includes Oceania Merit Award by OAA in 2002, World Athletics (previously IAAF) Veteran Pin, 2005, FASANOC Distinguished Service Award in 2006, IOC Youth Development Award in 2008, Administrator of the Year at the Fiji Sports Awards in 2013, Technical Official of the Year at the Fiji Sports Awards in 2014 and World Athletics Plaque of Merit Award in 2019.

They say in recognition of his steadfast commitment, exceptional leadership, and significant impact on athletics in Fiji and the broader Oceania region, Vuli was honored with a Life Membership of the Oceania Athletics Association in 2015 and in 2019 Vuli was presented the World Athletics Plaque of Merit Award for exemplary service to the cause of World Athletics within Oceania.

In 2017, FASANOC bestowed upon Filimoni Vuli Waqa the esteemed Fiji Olympic Order for his invaluable contributions to Fiji Sports.

Notably, in 2020, the President of the Republic of Fiji and Chancellor of the Order of Fiji personally awarded Filimoni Vuli Waqa the 50th Anniversary of Independence Commemorative Medal, commemorating his enduring dedication to the nation.

Athletics Fiji adds though he may have left this world, his spirit and legacy will forever inspire generations to come.

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