Thursday, August 16, 2007


Akesa Drotini walks every morning along the gravel and dusty road from her village to school.
The one and a half mile walk is long for someone her age, but she walk with a dream to represent her country one day.
This lass is set to showcase her talent as she tries to outshine other runners at the Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa later this month.
Drotini, 14, may be the youngest in the athletics team but to her size does not matter.
The slim runner could not believe her ears when she was told she would be representing her country this year.
The specialist 3000 metre runner is expected to be one athlete who will attract attention as she takes on other athletes who are much older and bigger than her.
This shy Wainibuka lass is one who does not do a lot of talking, but she does where it matters most on the track.
She is a Form Two student of Wainibuka Secondary School in Tailevu.
"I live at Nasaibitu Village in Wainibuka," she said.
"And I walk to school and back home every day."
Kesa, as she is known among her peers, is a little girl with the very big ambition of achieving greater things in athletics.
"The first time for me to compete competitively was during the Milo Games, where I won a bronze medal," Kesa said.
However, things changed for Kesa when she went up to Class Eight.
"My parents told me that I can not achieve anything if I do not give everything I have so I started to commit myself to training," she said.
"I train at school with the teachers and when I am at home it is my parents who continue to push me to do my best and I believe this is my biggest achievement in life.
"I ran in the 3000 metres race at the Coca-Cola Games and I was not surprised when I won gold because I knew I had trained hard for it," she said.
Kesa said the moment she received the gold was one of the happiest moments in her life as she remembered the hard work she had to endure before competing.
"I would like to have that feeling again in Samoa," she said.
Kesa said she knows it will not be an easy task to be up against the best from the Pacific.
"I know it won't be easy, but I will give it my best shot even if I have to be carried away from the finish line," she said.
One would not be surprised with the attitude Kesa has because her mother, Vasemaca Drotini was a sprinter during her young days in Ra.
Kesa said her mother hails from Nalidi, Nakorotubu in Ra.
"She was a 50 and 100 metre champion, but I have opted to run the 3000 metres," she said.
Kesa said she had been given the full support of the people of Nasaibitu as well as from her fellow students at Wainibuka Secondary School.
She has been travelling to Suva every fortnight to train and said her parents really had to scrape through thick and thin to send her for training.
She admits that while she hopes to have a bright future on the tracks, her biggest drawback is funding.
"At home my father stresses to my other six siblings that whatever we eat and drink at home we should always appreciate it because they want me to go to the Games," she said.
Before heading to Samoa, Kesa has been invited to be one of the athletes from Fiji to take part in the International Amateur Athletics Federation World meet in Osaka, Japan.
She said this would be her biggest build up before she competes at the Pacific Games.
Those willing to assist this young girl on her trip can deposit money through the ANZ Bank account number 9970023.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online