The Bank of South Pacific funded Ratu Filise Gym was handed over to the village by BSP General Manager Human Resources Howard Politini and Senior Manager Microfinance and Rural Banking Isikeli Taoi in a special ceremony yesterday.
Village head man Etika Nakurilagi said the fact that many of their youths used rugby as an alternative pathway to a better life made it all the more practical to have a new gym.
The village of Namatakula is the home of great names such as Noa Nadruku, Luke Eranavula, Isei Nasiganiyavi, Nemani Nadolo, Lote Tuqiri, brothers Alipate and Etuate Nauqe, Wallaby Tevita Kuridrani and lately new 7s find Eminoni Nasilasila.
"I thank BSP for their vision and community approach,'' said Mr Nakurilagi.
"We had begun discussions last year and am so glad that we are doing this today that it is almost emotional for us.
The project was spearheaded by BSP Sigatoka branch manager Reginald Kumar and his staff.
Mr Kumar said they had picked this for their community project because Namatakula was producing stars from very little available resources.
"Even the ground they use is very uneven, so a gym was well within our resource base to deliver,'' Mr Kumar said.
"This is a very inspirational village as far as rugby in Fiji is concerned, so we are proud of our association here.
Mr Nakurilagi in addition said "Our youths here dream so much of following in the footsteps of our other famous sons in rugby to help improve their lives, a gym will help them achieve this dream.
BSP has also supported them with rugby balls, netballs and water bottles worth $600.
BSP GM HR Howard Politini told villagers during the special ceremony conducted in the community hall that BSP as the main sponsor for the Pacific Games was focusing on sports community projects this year.
"You would have known by now that we are the main sponsor of the Pacific Games to be held in Papua New Guinea this year, such projects are in line with that theme,'' said Mr Politini.
"This new gym is also strategic in the sense that we know it would be well utilized due to the sporting history of this village."
As the father in law of former All Black great Joe Rokocoko, Mr Politini also informed the village that even great executives like him could not match earnings of rugby greats which was why they need to encourage their talented youths to use rugby to improve their life.
The new gym has basic free weights and machines and will be refurbished with more equipment in the coming months by the overseas based rugby sons from Namatakula.
The village is now preparing for the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s scheduled for March 6-7 and will field two mens team and a veteran's team to be led by former rep Filipe Tawayaga.
Related news feeds:
Namatakula Gets New $10k Gym (source: FijiSun)