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The 2017 Coca Cola Games gets underway in Suva today with a total of 13 gold medals on offer.
However, the main talking point overnight has been the disqualification of Queen Victoria School sprinter, Ilaitia Waqa.
Waqa made a false start in the senior boys 100 metres during the Tailevu Zone meet last month but was given the green light for the Fiji Finals, after his zone revealed that the starter was on fault.
This did not go down well with the Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Association, general secretary Vuli Waqa who revealed Waqa did not have any qualification time to prove his performance this year.
"I have mentioned this on the air and I have been accused of favouritism to say that I favour the Tailevu schools, but information given to us was that he was disqualified in the finals and that he qualified in the heats and for that reason he has already qualified and his participation in the finals was merely to find out whether he was the best out of all the athletes that went into the finals," Waqa said.
"But we found out later on that is not the case and he was disqualified in the heats and well the committee has made the decision to say no, he will not run and we will be sticking to our rules so he will be disqualified from the 100m event."
FSSAA had previously announced that Ilaitia will run in the games but had to revise their decision because of the latest information they received regarding his disqualification in the Tailevu Zone earlier this month.
Waqa also clarified that if an athlete ran a qualifying time in the heats but was disqualified in the final at zone level then that particular athlete would be able to qualify for the Fiji finals.
"Because we recognise records that are broken in heats so for that matter we can, unless if we change our rules to say that you will have to qualify in the final then we will use that. But for the time being there is no such rules and that is why we are taking that if you qualify in the heats then you have already qualified," he said.
There was a lot of talk about Waqa’s participation and with this matter settled, a new winner will be crowned in the grade.
While this remains a talking point, day one sees 13 gold medals at stake, with schools out to top the medal tally early.
Off the field of action, the Fiji Police Force has assured they will be out in force to ensure safety for all.
Police Chief of Operations, ACP Rusiate Tudravu, says they want all to enjoy and not indulge in unlawful behaviour.
“Apart from the manpower deployment that we have, we are also having technical support. Our CCTV will now be installed, and our K9 unit, will be here for a few reasons. Number one is because of allegations of marijuana being used by people who would like to take advantage of this opportunity and also in terms of crowd control, just to assist us.”
The first event gets underway at 2pm.
SOURCE: FBC SPORTS/ FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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