First war cry for Team Fiji, CNMI swimmers looking to make big splash at Pacific Games

Photo: Team Fiji

For the first time in Team Fiji history, they’ll have a war cry.

Fans will witness it for the first time at the upcoming Pacific Games in Solomon Islands.

Team Fiji athletes and officials will present the war cry to the President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere when they present their I-Tatau this week.

Rugby has its own war cry known as the ‘cibi’ but Team Fiji official Joe Tuinamata says athletes can now perform it even at Olympic Games.

‘This is the first time we’re doing it to showcase our culture across the Pacific in any games that we’re sent representing Team Fiji this will be the first time, I know rugby has theirs so this will be for the games that you’ve mentioned, when we have the Olympic Games in Paris next year, 2025 would be the Mini Games and 2027 another Pacific Games, all the Games organised by FASANOC as Team Fiji this will be the war cry of the nation.”

For someone like Salome Tabuatalei who has been to more than half of the Pacific Games, it’s only right that Team Fiji have their own.

“Most of the time when we go for national duties, we only perform rugby’s ‘Cibi’ but when I look at it, it’s not right because the Cibi belongs to rugby and not Team Fiji. I’m thankful to the current FASANOC administration for this idea to have our own Team Fiji war cry.”

Athletes and officials will perform the war cry together in the Pacific Games opening ceremony.

The first group of athletes and officials will leave for the Solomon Islands on the 14th of this month.

CNMI swimmers looking to make big splash in Honiara

Meanwhile, the Northern Marianas Swimming Team is expecting to win at least a medal a day during competition in the 2023 Pacific Games in Solomon Islands.

“The first medal for Team NMI must be in swimming! I know we will win a medal every day,” said head coach Hiroyuki Kimura.

Of the 15-swimmer strong team, Isaiah Aleksenko, Juhn Tenorio, and Maria Batallones are seek as having the best chances to medal for Team CNMI.

All three are veterans of this year’s FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Aleksenko’s events in the Solomons meet are the 50m, 100m, and 200m butterfly, while Tenorio will take the plunge in the 50m, 100m, and 200m backstroke and Batallones the same distances in the breaststroke.

The team is also expecting to do well in the men’s 100×4 freestyle, 200×4 freestyle, and 100×4 medley relay events.

The rest of the CNMI swimming team are Kean Pajarillaga, Kouki Watanabe, Kevin Guerrero, Andrew Nunez, Julia Jinang, Shoko Litulumar, Taiyo Akimaru, Moshe Sikkel, Michael Miller, Jinie Thompson, Piper Raho, and Nagi Tenorio

Kimura said since the Pacific Games is the epitome of sports competition in the region, the CNMI National Swimming Team is taking it very seriously.

“It is the coach’s responsibility to get as many swimmers as possible to make it through the preliminary round, onto the final stage, and on the podium,” he said.

“Even if swimmers don’t make it to the finals, I want them to do their best to aim for a higher ranking,” Kimura added.

‘We play with heart’: Team Cook Islands flagbearers lead special parade

Meanwhile, Team Cook Islands flag bearers, Julieanne Westrupp and Stephen Willis, led the Rarotonga-based athletes and officials in a special parade through Avarua town on Saturday.

Cook Islands will be represented by 230 athletes and officials at the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands from 19 November to 2 December.

During the unveiling of Team Cook Islands uniform on Friday night, Westrupp congratulated all the athletes who have been selected to represent the country in various sports.

Team Cook Islands will compete in Athletics, Boxing, Swimming, Weightlifting, Basketball, Volleyball, Football, Golf, Netball, Oe Vaka, Rugby, Rugby League, Tennis, and Touch Rugby at the 2023 Games.

Westrupp, who will be leading the Touch team, said a lot of hard work and fundraising have been done and thanked all their families for their support. She also thanked government for their financial support.

“We play with heart,” she said.