15 March 2023 - French Embassy in Fiji successfully hosts Terre de Jeux 2024 Inclusive Race

More than 90 participants from the Disability Community, Diplomatic Corps, Special Schools, FASANOC AND ONOC were part of a global 24 hour relay Terre de Jeux 2024 race that was organised by the French Embassy in Fiji on 14 March at Albert Park in Suva as part of the occasion of 500 days before the Paris 2024 Games.

French Ambassador to Fiji, Mr François-Xavier Léger said the race provided an opportunity to deliver global messages and this year in Fiji, the Embassy had decided to flag up a special theme, which was “Sport and Inclusivity of members from the Disability Community”.

First, we pay tribute to each country’s sports and athletes, their talent and their performance.We also spread the Olympic and Paralympic values and we contribute to get more people moving, to unite the sports movement around our respective organisations, workforces and more importantly our communities,” Mr. Léger said.

Mr. Léger stated that sport united and brought people together and thanked each and every participant that took part in the race.

Sports is a universal language for all to connect and it provides a platform to express one’s ideas and beliefs. We believe it is very important to have the disability community to actively take part in all forms of sports, whether it be just for fun or at local, regional and international stages as well. Sport is a very powerful driver for inclusivity, in family, community, society, or work. It is very important that we involve members from the disability communities in decision making processes. They can bring in their talent, their skills, their strength, their resilience. Here in Fiji, we could meet very inspiring athletes like Mere Roden, Leslie Tikotikoca, Eve Naqio and athletes from Fiji Paralympic and Special Olympics,” Mr. Léger said.

ONOC Chief Communications and Visibility Officer and Acting Executive Director, Inoke Bainimarama said ONOC’s participation at the event had allowed them to achieve two of their core functions, which was Cultivating Strategic Partnerships and Contributing towards Sporting.

In its current contemporary format, the Olympic Games has proven to be a truly inclusive, progressive, and peacebuilding mechanism encouraging cooperation, friendship and excellence - the best of being human, a core part of the culture of humanity,” Mr. Bainimarama said.

FASANOC President Makarita Lenoa said the Terre de Jeux 2024 race was an event that believed in the power of sports and that sport was for all.

When this program was introduced in France, they made it to make sure that all levels of society would take part in it. And here in Fiji we are taking part in it through the French Embassy here in Suva and it is giving us an opportunity to again celebrate the power of sport and to believe that sport can change lives,” Mrs. Lenoa said.

Disability Community and Para athlete, Mere Roden said she was thankful to be part of the race and there was still a need for more women to be part of sport especially in Para-Table Tennis.

There is still a lot of work to be done and it is not just about us women in the urban centres, it is about women out in the rural communities,” Mrs. Roden said.

Fiji was the second country to host the race following New Zealand. A total of 128 embassies and countries took part in this year’s edition.

Last updated on: 16 March 2023