Fiji stories, Labasa, South Pacific culture, family, migration, Australia/Fiji relationship
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Ready for the Olympic Games
Good luck to Leslie Copeland who has a good chance of representing Fiji with the javelin event. He already can throw 80 metres. From PINA news:
Copeland quits job 100 days from Olympics
By Online Editor
1:23 pm GMT+12, 19/04/2012, Fiji
Leslie Copeland Fiji’s javelin Olympic Games qualifier- Leslie Copeland has quit his job five days shot of his 24th birthday to concentrate on becoming the first Fijian to reach the final in his discipline at the 30th Olympic Games.
“I resigned yesterday (Tuesday) to concentrate fulltime on reaching the final cut in London,” said the Erasito Consultants technician.
“With 100 days to go, the reality dawned on me yesterday that I need to focus. I can’t continue to work and then train.”
Copeland was part of the Fiji Olympic team hosted to a lunch by the Acting British High Commissioner –Martin Fidler at the his residence in Suva to commemorate the occasion of the ‘100 days to go to the London 2012 Olympics’.
“See, here in Fiji no one has gone past the second round at the Olympics except for Tony Philip Junior in sailing in the 80s, but apart from that no one has gone past the second,” said Copeland.
The London Olympic Games will be the first for the soft-speaking thrower who has been representing Fiji at 16. His father is of Kiribati descent and mum from Waisomo in Naitasiri turns 24 on Monday.
“To get to the final I have to throw 82 metres which is the automatic qualifier to get to the finals. I qualified with 80 last year that means I need proper preparation from now until the Games.”
Copeland is probably one of the few athletes to be training out of Fiji and one of his biggest tests will be next month at an international competition of top javelin throwers in South Korea.
He realises the odds are stacked against him being an athlete from a small island country with limited resources and technical backing as compared to the more affluent countries.
“For us at home, it is a challenge every day. We got only one track and in May, they’ll strip and I’ll have to find a new place to train,” he said giggling.
“So imagine all those kind of stuff. We have only one track in Fiji where I mean soccer, rugby everybody shares the track. If rugby is playing I can’t train. That’s the reality of training in Fiji.
“But despite that I hope me and James (Goulding- coach) can get up to that distance before the Olympic Games.”
The javelin thrower and his coach hope to move to Germany after Korea as they get closer to the London 2012 Olympics.
Copeland has been given an International Olympic Committee scholarship for Olympic Games preparation and they hope their sponsor ‘Red Bull’ will also be able to get them to the much needed competition and facilities prior to the Games.
“Everything we need, we need money. If we have money we can train better. We can go to anywhere we want to train. We can go to more competitions and we can change our diet and have proper food, you know and I can wake up and not worry about catching the bus,” Copeland said laughing.
He said that the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) have also chipped in with funds to assist.
Ironically his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Asked on how he got this email address, Copeland replied “I mean in Fiji you don’t to be a millionaire to be happy, you can survive without money. You know in Fiji- money or no money we can still be happy.”.
Introducing Peceli and Wendy. Babasiga (pronounced bambasinga) is the dry land of Macuata in northern Fiji - our place in the sun in Fiji. The town is Labasa and our village is Vatuadova and the beach is Nukutatava. We are part of Wailevu Fijian tribe with relatives in Mali Island and Naseakula village. Peceli was born in Labasa and Wendy is an Australian and today live in Geelong, Australia.