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Rotuman Sports

From Fiji Times Online (30 June 2010)

Fit for our young

by Geraldine Panapasa

Pride of Fiji

Bola Tafo'ou
Bola Tafou with Della Shaw.

NOTHING beats the feeling of watching raw talent grow - particularly in the field of athletics.

That's how 41-year old Bola Tafou gets each time he sees young aspiring athlete excel on and off the tracks.

Early this year, the level five coach was recognised for his efforts as an athletics coach and was named Coach of the Year at the FASANOC Sports Awards night in March.

"I started volunteering since 1989 when I left athletics in 1987. I just started coaching in primary schools for the Milo Games and just kept going out to schools to help," he said.

"I used to live in Navua with my mum and dad. I had left the sport but I still had the sport in me so I couldn't get it out.

"I couldn't run so I took up coaching and moved back to Suva where I started helping schools around Suva.

"I didn't know that I was going to go big-time into coaching. I was doing it for the fun of it because I love athletics.

"Soon, volunteering and coaching athletics became a way of life for me. My love and passion for the sport makes me want to see athletics come up there and show results like rugby."

Born and raised in Fiji, Tafou hails from Motusa in Rotuma and is currently employed as a sports development officer for the Fiji Sports Council.

There isn't a lack of talented athletes in the country - just a handful of people going out of their way to help develop these athletes is all Fiji has.

"This line of work keeps me going and makes me feel younger and fit. Even when I do a bit of training, just training athletes makes me fit and healthy," he said.