GOLDCOAST,25 JUNE 2020 (FIBA)—Olympic Day is a tremendous occasion for the FIBA Oceania National Federation members with each country working jointly with their respective National Olympic Committees.

The annual Olympic day promotes mass participation to celebrate the Olympic spirit through sports. Despite the difficulties of the Covid-19 crisis, a few Federations were able to hold small-scale events to participate in the celebration.

FIBA reached out to Federation officials to discuss the importance of Olympic Day in their respective countries and how they celebrate it.

Lai Puamau, Basketball Fiji Chief Operating Officer

Each year Fiji’s NOC usually holds an Olympic Day Run between 17 -24 June for each year, with 1.5km, 5km, and 10 km Olympic Day Fun Run and activities, As the federation, aspires to be in the Olympics, part of a longer-term vision, we participate to celebrate in the Olympic spirit, which is the promotion of sports all over the world regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or race.

EJ Calvo, Guam Basketball Federation President

As a small island in the Pacific with immense national pride, I believe the Olympic spirit in Guam is strong, even if our direct participation in the Olympics has been limited to a handful of sports over the years. Our Guam National Basketball Program is among the most successful in all Guam sports on a regional basis, but now that FIBA has opened up a pathway for us to potentially earn our way to more competition, the Olympic dream is real.

Olympic Day is celebrated by our Federation members as we continue to be inspired by a chance to represent our island nation, and experience sport on a global scale.

Karo Lelai, FIBA Oceania Board Member

When we play by the rules and promote fair play, excellence, respect, and good governance in basketball, we are teaching important values to foster positive personal development. Basketballers are now becoming ambassadors for these values and agents of change in their communities.

When we play basketball, we are a unified people, a unified culture, a unified Nation. As a multicultural Nation, basketball fosters solidarity. BFPNG is proud of its contribution towards Nation building and will continue to use basketball as a tool for development. Happy Olympic Day!

Deborah Shoniber, Marshall Islands Basketball Federation Secretary-General 

For the Marshall Islands Basketball Federation, Olympic Day is a great day even though we were unable to participate this year. As July 1st will be the first day that sports can resume in our country, we still feel the spirit of Olympism. The fact that we can resume play soon and enjoy basketball again throughout our communities brings renewed enthusiasm and excitement that we know resonates with the Olympic spirit around the world.

Jubilee Kuartei, FIBA Oceania Board Member

In connection to basketball, the Olympic spirit helped shaped the social change among the participants and fans in Palau. A lot can be said about how basketball has become the most participated sport in Palau inclusive of everyone, young and old, boys and girls. Through the Olympic spirit, the basketball program in Palau has provided opportunities for participants to be productive citizens.

Sinton Soalabali, Palau Basketball Federation Board Member

As the most popular sport in Palau, basketball has changed the directions of many young lives for the better. Because of the active participation of the sport, many young people have learned valuable skills in leadership, organisation, teamwork, and work ethic. Basketball in Palau has generally brought communities together.

Palau Basketball Federation members have actively participated in the Olympic Day. Over the years, our young volunteers have helped organize the event. The event has also helped them learn the value of what it takes to be a volunteer and doing something good to the community.

DhielLangkilde, American Samoa Basketball Association Vice President

Basketball has always been a sport that connects to every Pacific islander especially here in American Samoa. No matter what sport an athlete participates in with other federations, they’ll always find their way into a gym or outdoor court and play with others. It’s a connection that translates to our athletes to come together through sports in practicing teamwork, skill development, fellowship, and critical thinking.

Olympic day means coming together in unity and learning about the importance of not just sports, but also creating a bond with others. That’s the Olympic movement. To achieve on the field of play and in the community. ASBA has been working, promoting, and developing athletes. Things have slowed down due to the pandemic, but it hasn’t stopped the spirit of finding ways to be better in any way possible and protecting ourselves during these tough times.

Sacha Duthu, Vanuatu Basketball Federation National Basketball Development Officer

Every four years, around a million athletes, prepare toward that goal, but only 1% makes it. So, you have to be the best. That mindset is the one that we want to promote for our athletes and the one we expect them to spread in their communities, beyond being an athlete. Olympic Day is the day where we, the national sports federation, are together, every year, apart from representing the country in international competitions such as the Pacific Games.

This year’s edition, in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the country’s independence, and the COVID-19 pandemic, is another occasion to celebrate the Olympic values of friendship, respect, and excellence. Vanuatu’s resilience to the challenges of the Covid-19 in addition to the last Category 5 Tropical Cyclone, is a great symbol of excellence when no matter what you face, you keep going forward in your life and sport….PACNEWS

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