TAICHI FOR OCEA­NIA

Fiji Sun - - Sport - JUS­TINE MAN­NAN jus­tine.man­nan@fi­jisun.com.fj

Young Taichi Vakasama has qual­i­fied for the 2016 Ocea­nia Swim­ming Cham­pion- ship.

The 16-year-old from Dal­i­coni vil­lage in Vanu­a­bal­avu, Lau told SUNs­ports yes­ter­day that this was pos­si­ble through hard work and was proud to rep­re­sent his coun­try again.

Taichi had pre­vi­ously rep­re­sented Fiji at the 2014 Ocea­nia Swim­ming Cham­pi­onship, Pa­cific Games and the Com­mon­wealth Youth Games. “This year has been ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to train for the Open Na­tion­als be­cause of the ef­fects of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston,” the Nadi swim­mer said. “The pools were closed for two to three weeks and clean­ing of the pool took a long time be­fore I could use it to train.

“But to get to this point and qual­ify is a huge relief for me and also a huge re­ward be­cause I have put so much time and ef­fort into my prepa­ra­tions. “This has been one of my aims com­ing into this com­pe­ti­tion, I knew it would be hard from the start be­cause there are so many tal­ented swim­mers but I’m thank­ful for the com­pe­ti­tion they gave me. “As a kid, I never dreamed that I would be this fast or even be con­sid­ered to com­pete for my coun­try, so I’m pretty proud of my achieve­ments so far.

“I take my train­ing so se­ri­ously, I do swim train­ing six times a week and have two gym ses­sions per week as well; now I know for sure it has paid off.” The Swami Vivekananda Col­lege stu­dent has al­ready set his goals for the Ocea­nia Cham­pi­onship as he says, win­ning a medal and break­ing records is all that mat­ters.

“My aim this year is to at least get a few medals in the Ocea­nia Cham­pi­onship, I know I will be com­pet­ing with some of Ocea­nia’s best swim­mers and that is a chal­lenge I am look­ing for­ward to,” he pointed out. “We can­not im­prove as an ath­lete if we are not chal­lenged so I want to try to break the 200 me­tres breast­stroke record. It’s the event I’m good at and also long dis­tance freestyle. “I want to do my per­sonal best and im­prove as a swim­mer and take my per­for­mance up a notch, I know it will be hard but prepa­ra­tion starts from today. “I just want to thank my par­ents for giv­ing me the most sup­port and ev­ery­one who has been there and helped me be the swim­mer I am today.” The Ocea­nia Cham­pi­onship will be held in Suva from June 19-24. Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Taichi had pre­vi­ously rep­re­sented Fiji at the 2014 Ocea­nia Swim­ming Cham­pi­onship, Pa­cific Games and the Com­mon­wealth Youth Games.

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