The week of the Rugby World Cup 2015 start was a busy one for the defence forces of Fiji. Fortunately not in relation to keeping Fiji safe, but in honouring and celebrating sports by building team spirit, demonstrating sportsmanship and displaying physical prowess in the 64th annual Sukuna Bowl Competition.
The enlisted sporting talents were not exclusive to just the workforce, but also to the spouses, making this a family friendly event. Thus, through my Fijian family connection, herself an Army wife and ex-participant of the games, I was invited to attend the netball and volleyball event at the Vodafone arena. We arrived at the netball centre to the sounds of cheers from the Army support coloured red and green, and the Police supporters all in blue.
It was a hot day, and I did not envy the players for battling it out in such heat. The closest and most suspenseful match was between the Netball Team B’s of the Police and Army force, with the Army just nabbing the win. It was a valiant effort from both sides, and watching the netball matches riled a deep nostalgia within me for the game.
Netball, volleyball and rugby are all sports taught within Fiji’s physical education curriculum in schools, and the skills displayed on the courts that day represented strong home-grown talent. Rugby, the most popular sport in Fiji, was the event saved for the final day of the games which saw the Police force successfully defend their title for another year with a 25-17 win, as well as winning the games overall and taking home the Sukuna Bowl (a kava bowl, of course). Asides from rugby on the final day, games of tug of war were also played!
History of the games show that the Police force have come out on top more often, with a record of 30 Sukuna bowl wins to the Army’s 23, including this year’s triumph. The battles were intense, the atmosphere electric, the talent strong, the skills impressive and my experience worth it. Anything that bonds people as well as bringing out the best in them is something worthwhile of celebrating. Call me biased, but fingers crossed for an Army win in 2016.