From Fiji Times Online (23 January 2008)
Tafoo'u feels at home on the tracks
By Indra Singh
WHILE all eyes are usually on champion athletes battling it out on the tracks there is a keen pair of eyes beneath the Laucala stadium growing in anticipation to the finish line, hoping everything turns out right.
As a student he too enjoyed the thrills of competing and winning in an organised competition but these days he is on the tracks almost daily except Sunday helping develop the young talents we have in abundance.
On any given afternoon when you venture onto the National Stadium tracks, you will notice Bola Tafoo'u advising and encouraging his charges.
At, 39, the former Laucala Bay Secondary School student has become the familiar face for student athletics in Fiji when it comes to coaching.
Yesterday he was out and about on the first day of the school year planning for the season as the wiser students begin gearing up for their respective zones and the Coke Light Games during then first term holidays.
"I can never stay away long from the tracks and if I am away for a few days it makes me feel awkward," Tafoo'u said.
So why does he like helping and coaching the youngsters and not indulging in other things.
"It is all about development of athletes and we need to guide these youngsters,' he said.
"I have been there and know what is needed when you are a young runner trying to do you best."
The Motusa native from Rotuma was a runner in his time as well and held records in the 400 and 800 metres.
This was during his time at Laucala Bay Secondary School and than later at Marist Brothers High School.
The last time he ran was in 1987.
"LBSS was a good school but I moved to Marist because the atmosphere was different," Tafoo'u said.
"There were also many more students taking part in athletics there and the level was high."
Tafoo'u attended the Level V course last year.
This is the highest level in the IAAF's Coaches Education and Certification System (CECS) and these IAAF Academy courses consist of 3 streams or strands (a) Chief Coach, (b) Coaching Development Director, and (c) Elite Coach.
While his specialty has been athletics, the Fiji Sports Council employee was last year involved with the Suva football side as their trainer.
His fitness regime saw Suva being classed as one the fittest sides ever.
"It was quite good and I would like to help the team more if I am needed this year," he said.
He has set aims for himself for 2008.
"I want to carry on improving my coaching for this year and give more to athletics," Tafoo'u said.
"Also I want to help more and more youngsters develop their skills and give back to the sport."
While he enjoyed working with Suva football, Tafoo'u wants to carry on again.
"We had a good young team and they were good players to work with and I hope I get a chance to that again this year," he said.