Voices of the Athletes spreads anti-doping message

PACIFIC GAMES: As athletes aim for their best performance at the Pacific Games, Voices of the Athletes is using sport as a platform to spread important messages.

Combining anti-doping, HIV awareness and environmental slogans, the group is part of the Oceania National Olympic Committee.

With more than three thousand athletes at the Games, including 43 Australians, Voice of the Athletes administrator Hanisi Visanti says its a great time to spread awareness.

"We’re here just to plant a seed of messages, four messages, to the athletes. Be a Leader, Play True, Play Safe and Go Green," Visnati said.

"It's a leadership program from the ONOC Commission to show anti-doping, HIV awareness and the environment messages in a way which athletes will understand."

The program reaches 5-8,000 people every year across the pacific, including Australians at both the Karate Championships and Hockey World League competition in Fiji.

“For these two weeks we've set up four stations in the middle of the athletes' village and we encourage everyone to come through all four stations and give them a little bit of education about these areas,” Visanti said.

Heading up the Go Green section is New Zealand's Ryley Webster.

"Basically as the athletes are passing by we are saying “Hey guys did you know about this program?” and getting them to register and then have a look at the four components," Webster said.

"It’s about the impact that plastic has on marine life and human life. Here in the Pacific there is’t a huge amount of money put into waste management systems so it’s important for the athletes to understand where their plastic ends up."

As each athletes makes their way around the program, they’re asked to make a pledge about how they can be a role model on and off the field, as well as a quiz and survey about anti-doping and HIV awareness.

Fiji’s Fatafehi Daunivuka heads up the HIV awareness program and says the overall aim is to encourage athletes’ to become the program’s spokespeople.

"It’s called Voices of the Athletes because when people finish up here they become advocates for the four messages. Athletes can then listen to other athletes’ voices.”

Athletes who visit the program during the Games are eligible to vote for a new athlete representative on the Executive Board of the Pacific Games Council. Three athletes are in the running from across the Pacific, with the winner announced at the Closing Ceremony.

Annie Kearney
olympics.com.au




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