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Rotuman Sports

From Fiji Times (8 October 2020)

Tahi takes big step

Women's touch rugby team
The Tahi women's touch rugby team. Picture supplied

A group of families of Rotuman heritage have taken the sport of touch rugby to heart in engaging their children with the parents providing the support during training and during their games.

A point of interest is the fact that these parents take their children and their friends who are part of the Tahi team supporting them in their studies and carrying out tutoring work.

Further to this is the fact that the parents who are involved are also engaged in their development where values and culture are instilled and passed down.

It brings to the fore the total involvement of the family and members in the rearing and upbringing of a child, something that our Pacific culture are well renowned for but have taken a hit as of late, largely in part due to the social impact of globalisation.

Elders of the Tahi team shared the story of how the team members have been taught to be inclusive in their participation.

They have a member of the team who is part of the marginalised segment of society but loves the sport of touch rugby to the core.

The team members engage him in training and during their games, parents and the coach encourage the good players to work the etra yards to cover for his shortfall.

Men's Tahi touch rugby team
The Tahi men's rugby team. Picture supplied

The values being instilled in these kids are being moulded holistically and the sport of touch is being used to be the vehicle of their transformation.

Being part of a society that has many parts, members of Tahi touch team are being bred in a way that will enhance their ability and broaden their view of life.

It resonates with part of what TFF is trying to establish and that is to develop our people beyond the game so that they are holistically developed in the physical, mental and spiritual sense so as to heighten their participation and contribution to society.

Some of the elders of the team to name a few are George Atalifo and Vamarasi Faktaufon, both heavily engaged, the parents of the kids to be part of the Tahi touch journey.

Koni Penjueli, a member of the 2003 Pacific Games men's touch open gold medallist team has been instrumental in the involvement of touch in the Rotuma Games and the development of players that have resulted in Tahi's engagement in the Suva Touch Association.

He is coaching the Tahi touch team. Koni was also instrumental in the establishment of the touch rugby powerhouse in Raiwaqa, the Browning Bombers, way back in 2005.

Touch is very privileged and blessed to have people like Koni around who have touch rugby running through their veins and sharing the gospel of the game to anyone showing interest.

The diehards who are prepared to do anything for the sport of touch.

A few members of the Tahi were part of our 2019 Fiji Touch World Cup teams to Malaysia and the Pacific Games team in Samoa that won bronze in the men's and women's category.