Matai Akauola Diary from London

01 AUGUST 2012 LONDON (PACNEWS) ----- Bula everyone….yesterday I left for the Games Village after doing most of my stories back at the hotel and hoping that things will run smoothly.

I turned up at the main entrance only to be told that I did not have a day pass into the village. The only person who could get me in was the Chef-de-Mission from Fiji Chris Yee but he was away at Wimbledon the venue for tennis.

A dear friend of mine jokingly said Chris went to play Serena Williams (American women’s tennis star) as you know Fiji hasn’t got a tennis player for these games.

Today I had come with a plastic of noodles for a couple of people inside the village however I was warned at the check point that I’m not allowed to bring food as a guest into the village.

Having faced similar situations before I knew the best thing was to be apologetic and the security guard warned me not to do it again and allowed me to pass.

This meant I was not able to go into the village but was given a media pass to the plaza, a designated area where media could interview officials and athletes.

So at the plaza I had meetings with The Reporters Academy founders- Glyn McGuire and Katy Dowell and Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) Executive Director –Dennis Miller who’s also a top International Swimming Federation official at the Games.

Discussions centered around how London ‘The Reporters Academy’ can improve their coverage focusing on performances of Pacific athletes. There is also a ‘Reporters Academy’ team from Melbourne which I was to meet in the evening.

ONOC, The Reporters Academy and PINA have teamed up to bring extensive coverage of the Pacific athletes at London 2012.

And like something the journalistic profession has taught me is to be patient, and I stayed around the plaza for almost three hours where I managed to interview three top NOC officials from Kiribati, Solomons and Tuvalu.

Kiribati Secretary General Rota Onorio was on his way to do some shopping for his athletes, Solomon Islands Caretaker president James Iroga was also making his way out of the village and Tuvalu’s Deputy Prime Minister- who’s also the president of Tuvalu NOC was frustrated with the transport arrangements here in London. He almost missed watching his weightlifter Lapua Lapua compete.

I had a long discussion with Weightlifting Fiji’s Team Manager- Atma Maharaj and the plans they have weightlifting back home in Fiji.

He’s promised me a better interview tomorrow (today) after Maria Liku’s competition.

At the plaza I also met Bruce Tizard-Varcoe, his wife Leilani and son Kia’a. They came to visit team Fiji,
I met them as they were going home and they were good enough to help find my way to Katharine’s Dock at Tower Hill.

Some way or the other as we reached Stratford Station, mum and son had to board a lift while Bruce and I took the steps to wait on the first level.
We waited at the entrance of the lift for almost 15 minutes and did not realise that mum and son had passed us by. There was no mobile signal at our spot as Bruce tried to contact Leilani.

So kind of Bruce to see me to my destination but at the same time I was feeling a bit guilty for causing them to go home separately to Surrey.

At the Dock, I met up with The Reporters Academy team from Melbourne. They arrived a week earlier with a Mac laptop and an I pad plus a T-shirt.

Team Vanuatu led by its president Antoine Boudier were at the Dock enjoying a function put together by Tourism Fiji UK, South Pacific Tourism Organisation and Oceania National Olympic Committee.

I managed a couple of interviews and took some nice pictures you can view on the PINA facebook page.
So until tomorrow, have a nice Pacific day....PACNEWS (PINA)

PACNEWS coverage is made possible with funding from Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Youth & Sports ‘Promoting Healthy Islands Through Sport’ (HITS) and Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC).


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