International Expert Volunteer Visit: Fiji

In February, the Gymnastics Federation of Fiji hosted Australian International Expert Volunteer, Lana Roden.  Expenses of the visit were funded by the Australian Government’s Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP) program, and Lana’s time was generously donated.  

Lana brought to Fiji extensive skills and experience to share with Sport Development Officers, coaches and participants to develop the sport of Aerobic Gymnastics on the islands.  Lana’s achievements include outstanding results at the Aerobic Gymnastics FIG Academy late last year where she achieved the highest mark of the Academy with a remarkable 96% including a very rare 100% in the theory examination.  She has been an International Aerobic Gymnastics competitor, now coaching and judging at international level.

The purpose of the visit was to kick start the PSP Village Aerobic Gymnastics activities particularly with women who may not otherwise have opportunities to get active.  Visiting villages enabled Lana to experience many wonderful cultural aspects of Fiji, including kava ceremonies (it is customary to present a gift of Kava root to the head of the village on a first visit!)  It was also a new experience for Lana to perform Aerobic Gymnastics wearing a Sulu (long skirt or wrap) which is required to be worn in the village setting.  Although It took a bit of getting used to, Lana and the women worked out methods of performing grapevines and flick kicks despite the excess of flowing material!

All in all, Lana provided training and mentoring to three Sport Development Officers, six coaches, 24 women, 35 children, and nearly 100 club gymnasts.  She also introduced Aerobic Gymnastics to internationally renowned Pacific Dance Group, Vou, and created introductions to more villages, universities and an outreach program for people with disabilities.  An excellent contribution to the development of gymnastics in one of the International Gymnastics Federation’s newest member countries – well done Lana!

Lana’s visit will be followed by a Fiji SDO immersion tour to Australia and another Australian International Expert Volunteer visit to Fiji – stay tuned for further updates!