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National reps boost Grammar’s campaign
Tuesday, April 25, 2006

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Lioness … Grammarian Lions junior javelin rep Unaloto Artack, 15, on her way to training for the Coke Light Games yesterday.
MELBOURNE Games athletes Niko Verekauta, Iliesa Namosimalua and Foy Waqairadovu are the trump cards in the Suva Grammar School squad to this year’s Coke Light Games.

Fresh from the Commonwealth Games, the trio was in full stride at the recent Fiji Games during the Easter weekend.

Verekauta will be out to stamp his mark in the senior boys 200m event after he blazed the Laucala tracks to set two a new record of 21.29 seconds shattering the old time of 21.50secs set by Osea Pelasio in 1996 at the Suva Two zone.

The Kadavu lad also shattered the senior boys 400m record of 49.08secs set by Richard Levula in 1995 with a new time of 48.65secs.

Namosimalua who was in second place to Verekauta in the 200m looks set to take out the blue ribbon event after confidently taking out the title at the zone.

The 75-member squad were training at the school grounds under the watchful eyes of track coach and former sprint queen Makelesi Bulikiobo Batimala.

The team remains underdogs as they round up preparations for the games.

Team manager Leone Gukirewa said the experience inputted by Batimala and the exposure of the three representatives at the Games is a huge boost to the team.

“We’re keeping a low profile this year so that our athletes remain focussed and the services of Mrs Batimala has been a huge motivator to the kids,” he said.

Gukirewa said the depth in experience and skills with Batimala has been an added strength to the athletics team since she joined the school.

“We’re lucky to have her (Batimala) as she’s very resourceful and demonstrates well her skills to these youngsters,” Gukirewa said.

While the Grammarians are quite in their vicinity, they are wary of the Tailevu favourites Queen Victoria School and Ratu Kadavulevu School and the Marist.

“As usual all schools will be fully prepared and we’re not underestimating any team but roaring our athletes for a tough run,” Gukirewa said. He said the strength lies in all grades and Grammar is preparing to step up competition at the Games.

“We can’t say anything just yet but will come to it when we cross the bridge but we have faith in our athletes,” he said

The girls division will be led by Josifini Gusuivalu who won the senior girls 200m event at the zone, Melanie Raikivi in the intermediate grade and young Rebecca Schaeffer in the sub junior grade.