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mailife - - Sports - By MELAIA TUILEVUKA pho­tos by MATILDA BUSS

I don’t play much or know much about the rules of the game, but when a school mate asked if I would help out with me­dia work for the Pa­cific Vol­ley­ball Part­ner­ship – what could I say? So about eight weeks ago I took on what turned out to be an emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence. In Fiji vol­ley­ball is con­sid­ered a mi­nor sport and fails to get the recog­ni­tion it de­serves, es­pe­cially com­pared to rugby. Yet the abun­dance of raw tal­ent amongst those who love to play the game is im­mense. My friend runs the Pa­cific Vol­ley­ball Part­ner­ship as a pro­gramme un­der the Fiji Vol­ley­ball Fed­er­a­tion. Dur­ing the last week of Oc­to­ber, FVF hosted two ma­jor events back to back in six days -- the Ocea­nia Zonal Tour­na­ment and the World Men’s Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship Phase 1 Qual­i­fiers. The Fiji men’s na­tional vol­ley­ball team needed to beat Tonga and New Zealand in or­der to qual­ify for the World Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship Phase 2 Qual­i­fier to be held in Thai­land next year. Our women’s team, how­ever, has al­ready se­cured a place for Phase 2. For the first three days, men’s teams from Tonga and NZ and both women’s and men’s teams from Cook Is­lands, Solomon Is­lands and Fiji bat­tled it out in the Ocea­nia Zonal Cham­pi­onships The five Pa­cific Is­land coun­tries dis­played their vol­ley­ball skills with power spikes and blocks. Af­ter Fiji Blue had beaten the Fiji Whites, the main team re­served for the World Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship Qual­i­fiers, and al­most tore apart the NZ team, NZ and Fiji Blue clashed again in the fi­nal. But the Ki­wis had re­grouped and won. Fol­low­ing Team Fiji around in the weeks lead­ing up to the cham­pi­onship,

Fiji Blue and Fiji White Women’s team bat­tle it out.

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