Athletes criticisms hold up

BY ELTON LONARATHA JNR

THE National Athletics Federation (Athletics Solomon) has defended accusations made by national female sprinter Jovitah Ambrose Arunia regarding the recent trip to the Oceania Athletics Championship in Fiji.

Arunia, after the event, described their trip as disastrous, highlighting the need for better organization and support from the federation.

She voiced concerns about the federation’s shortcomings, which she said adversely affected the athletes’ performance.

Arunia expressed that the trip was poorly organized and that the team lacked adequate support.

She also stated that they failed to get well-prepared due to the federation’s issues with the National Sports Council (NSC).

The national sprinter further reported that their coaches failed to attend training during their preparation for the Championship.

“Many athletes are unhappy with the federation’s failure to pay its affiliation fee with the NSC, which has impacted their preparation for regional and international competitions.

“Arunia emphasized that most athletes feel neglected and that the federation is not taking their preparation seriously,” she said.

A source from the federation who called for anonymity told SunSPORTS that Oceania does the whole arrangement of bookings and traveling and not the federation.

“The same applies for most countries that participated at the recent Championship in Fiji,” the source said.

Arunia reported that before the Oceania Athletics Championship 2024 began in Laucala, she departed early to attend a leadership course organized by Oceania.

Following Arunia, Julian Sosimo competed on the first day of the Championship on June 1st, while the rest of the team left Honiara on the same day Sosimo competed in the Women’s Heptathlon Pole Vault event.

After completing the course, she received her certificate, before moving over to the game venue only to realize that their first representative, Julian Sosimo, was not accompanied by a coach for her first competition.

“I had to take up the leadership role to guide and prepare Sosimo with her warm-up drills for her Heptathlon event because the coach had not yet arrived,” Arunia said.

She added that assuming the coaching role was challenging as she was also competing on the same day, and she failed to complete her race with good timing due to a lack of proper preparation back home.

The source explained that the first competition she competed in on Saturday 1st is optional because it is an invitational and whether you run or not it doesn’t matter.

“Her real competition will start on Tuesday 4th, which she needs to qualify for the semifinals.  So the only event that is on schedule for Saturday 1st is the women’s heptathlon, which the Pole Vault women will follow on Tuesday 4th and not Saturday 1st like she claimed,” explained the source.

The source further revealed that it is shameful to blame the federation for her poor performance because she always missed a lot of training opportunities, following her huge interest in football officiating.

“To blame the federation for failure to meet NSC requirements to avail the track for training is not true.

“The requirements are demanding and need time to complete to submit. It cannot happen overnight.

“However, priority was given to athletes under the Oceania squad to use the track for training, but she was full-time training in soccer refereeing and that was one of the factors that affected her fitness level,” the source said.

The source also acknowledges her efforts while highlighting that she is the most privileged athlete who has attended 3 World championships but has not broken the National Record in the women’s 100m.

“That opportunity should be given to other athletes who deserve it.

“She should not have traveled because she didn’t win a medal last year.

“Those female athletes who won medals last year should have gone to Oceania, but they were not available when the entries were closed,” the source revealed.

Meanwhile, at the moment, Arunia is back with her passion for football refereeing and is currently in New Zealand for her appointment at the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship – Qualifying Stage that will end this week.

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