Swansong for champion Tabuatalei

The Fiji Va'a team on course to represent the country in the South Pacific Games in July this year. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

OLDEST member of the Va’a team to the Pacific Games Salome Tabuatalei will participate for the last time in the Samoa Pacific Games before she retires.

Tabuatalei is no stranger in the sporting arena as she first represented Fiji in athletics in 1990.

The 59-year-old was named Fiji’s long distance champion holding six national records in the 1500 metres, 2000m, 3000m, 5000m and half-marathon before she moved to Va’a canoeing.

“Back in the early 2000s there was this program called the Eco Challenge which I was approached for and part of it was to learn the outrigger canoeing sport so I decided to join in afterwards,” said Tabuatalei.

Tabuatalei has been part of the sport since 2005 and had competed in multiple Pacific Mini Games, Pacific Games and international Va’a competitions.

“For me, my lower body was stronger than my upper body and I wanted to balance off my strength before I retired which is why I continued on with the sport,” said Tabuatalei.

“This will be my last year in Va’a.”

Tabuatalei is part of a 26 member Va’a team to the Pacific Games.

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