Suva (Fiji), Jan 25 (IANS) Australia's high commission here Friday announced sports development grants worth a total of over US$30,000 to three sporting organisations in the South Pacific island country.
Australia's acting High Commissioner Glenn Miles named the latest successful Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) grant recipients as: the Fiji Hockey Federation, the Fiji Surfing Association and Australian Football League Fiji (AFL Fiji), reports Xinhua.
The program grants support to small community-focused sports projects which address the needs of people at the grassroots level, by enhancing sports knowledge and leadership skills.
The Fiji Hockey Federation was awarded a grant of around US$10,000 supporting a project aimed at re-igniting interest in hockey in the towns of Levuka, Savusavu and Fiji's third-largest island of Taveuni.
"The Fiji Hockey Federation plans to introduce regular competition for hockey enthusiasts in these areas," Miles said, "I am particularly pleased that this project targets communities which don't have access to funding that might be more readily available in the larger urban centres."
The Fiji Surfing Association will receive around US$10,000 for a project aimed at developing water safety awareness and skills in Fiji children by introducing adapted Australian surf rescue/swimming curriculum and qualifications.
"The project will focus on 8 to 16 year olds on Viti Levu (Fiji's main island of), introducing the highly successful 'Nippers' program to Fiji. This will teach valuable surfing and surf lifesaving skills, which we hope will help to address and reduce the incidence of drowning in Fiji," said Miles.
In addition to expanding local participation in Australian Rules football, AFL Fiji will use its grant of around US$10,000 to assist in the development of leadership skills training in the administration of the game in Fiji.
The Australian Sports Outreach Program is an Australian Government-funded program which began in 2006. It is managed by the Australian Sports Commission and aims to assist sports organisations in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.