Conducive to training ? Well maybe !

Not quite as bad as it used to be !
There are many more topless trees than these !


You could blame the latest "El Nino" on Global Warming - or the biggest contributors to Global Warming ! Whoever is to blame, in 2007-8 we had a dry "Wet Season" and now we are experiencing a wet "Dry Season" ! This reversal is typical of El Nino patterns. And last night and today we have had the most prolonged rainfall for months !

One could say, rightly, that an atoll country must have regular rainfall to re-charge the water lens which is not far below the surface. But when it comes at the wrong time of year, how do you prepare or allow for it ? On this the capital island of Kiribati there are literally hundreds of coconut trees which have died (i.e. tops fallen off) from lack of fresh water. This is because the wet season was not wet enough, for weeks. When you know that there are more than twenty separate uses to which parts of the coconut tree are regularly put, you begin to realise what impact that will have.

Everyone knows that the price of fuel has increased rapidly. That includes diesel and kerosene. So if families cannot afford kerosene for their stoves, they must rely on collecting, every day, enough dry firewood to have open fires to do their cooking. If the trees which provide that firewood die, there will be plenty of dead wood for the short term - but long term ?


With the cost of fuel increasing, the prices of transporting goods to Kiribati and inside the Kiribati islands are also increasing. But wages and salaries are tied to budgets and do not increase in parallel ! So for athletes to get to training, unless they live near the National Stadium (where we have three sessions per week), they need to be provided with bus fares. We currently have athletes preparing for Beijing and for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune. We need them to train regularly and in a supervised way. Other athletes who have eyes on trying to be selected to go to Tri-Rigger in Nauru in December are not included in this funding yet, but still need to train to improve to justify their selection later. So they must either pay (via their parents) or train at home or not train !

To encourage this training and give athletes a chance to test its value we have been staging a monthly Trials Meeting for more than eight years. Today, after more than twelve hours of continuous rain, we had to cancel.


Those who advocate training in all weathers are obviously correct - it might well be raining in Pune in October. (Remember the World Championships in Helsinki ?!) Thus to train and compete in the rain is good practice and preparation. True ! But you try and persuade young, talented, but sensitive I-Kiribati athletes (and their coaches !) that it would be a good idea ! The flu virus and the cold virus are very debilitating conditions to the local people and so they prefer to stay in a relatively dry house !


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