The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) has hosted a Sports Training and Outreach Programme (STOP) workshop in Suva.
The event, which took place at Fiji Olympic House, was the first pathway for athletes as they progress in FASANOC's Athletes and Communities Engagement (ACE) Programme.
Coordinator Jeegar Bhavsar claimed it is a privilege and responsibility to be part of the ACE Programme, which promotes athletes not only as sportspeople, but also as role models and "Champions" to their team mates, families, communities and the country of Fiji.
"Once our 'Champions' undergo STOP training, they are able to not only advocate, but also be role models who can make a difference in their sport, families and communities," Bhavsar said.
"STOP is also the first step where athletes are given a year to prove themselves as 'Champions', where they are assessed on how well they present the topics on which they are taught during their training."
Following the STOP workshop, the "Champions" then undergo further training under the Voices of the Athletes (VOA) Programme, which includes Oceania Sports Education Programme presenter and educator training.
"Further topics are added to the ones they will learn this week when they undergo VOA training," Bhavsar added.
"The final training they will undertake is called our 'Excellence for Life' training, where 'Champions' are up-skilled to master educator status and are taught on policy-making and how to make decisions that will benefit athletes and communities."
Bhavsar stated it was also a pathway for "Champions" as they move and transition from being a competitive athlete to administration and decision-making on FASANOC's Athletes' Commission.
FASANOC STOP "Champions" for 2019 were given an overview on how they would advocate on topics that included non-communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, Olympic values, anti-doping and "Go Green", with the overriding theme of "Be a Leader".
Bhavsar pointed out this was the most "Champions" there had been in a year, and he was happy with their interest.
"We have athletes from sporting backgrounds like athletics, basketball, billiards and snooker, chess, football, netball, swimming, taekwondo, weightlifting, Fiji Deaf Association and volleyball, which is good for the programme and will now have a wide reach in terms of advocacy and outreach," he said.
FASANOC chief executive Lorraine Mar stressed that as ambassadors and role models for the national governing body, the belief and commitment of the "Champions" to the messages they delivered was just as important as the actual advocacy and outreach of the programmes.
"It is also important that you as 'Champions' live the messages that are associated with the ACE Programme, and hopefully through your work you will be able to influence and change lifestyles for the better," she said.
Mar added that this would be a testimony as to the power of sport.
She also said she was happy with the National Federations and their athletes who have shown interest in the programme.