Coke Games 2022

Former track queen lands helping hand

August 18, 2022 5:10 pm

Filomena Watirakala

The forty-one St Johns College athletes in Ovalau are fortunate to be trained and groomed by Filomena Watirakala, a gem of Fiji athletics.

Watirakala was part of the shool’s athletics team in the 1970s and later represented Fiji in the 1979 and 1982 South Pacific Games, where she won medals in the 100 and 4×100 metres relay.

Watirakala’s athletics journey started from a humble beginning in Cawaci, and climbed up the ladder, fully knowing that athletics was a passion and sport that will determine her future.

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The former Fiji sprint queen says so much has changed over the years.

“During my years at Cawaci a very big change now. Especially with the sport equipment, as our times we hardly have track shoes and we come at the stadium, we didn’t know how to use blocks.”

The Korovisilou, Serua Villager says it’s only right to share her experience with these talented and aspiring athletes of her former school.

“The students they look to me as a mother, the coaching I give them, every time I was coached by a New Zealand Coach is what I’ve been sharing to these St John’s athletes.”

Nikola Raiqeu a former 400 metres St Johns gold medalist was trained by Watirakala, and decides to assist her with coaching.

“After I came back from the Oceania Games in Australia, it was a good experience from there so I was thinking I go back to school and teach them what I’ve learnt from years back and I want them to achieve more than what I achieved.”

Watirakala says it’s pleasing to see young athletes out to obtain skills and knowledge that would make them champions, and winning medals takes more than just hard work, as they will be confronted with bumps along the way.