Thursday, May 17, 2007

Day 5 for John Hamann: Andersen Field

On day 5, John Hamann continued his task, but this time different from the previous 4 days. Today being a pay day Friday, most public elementary schools are closed due to reduced work hours imposed by Chuuk government. Keitani Graham and his friends at SHIP HOOPS have organized a field day for 13 years and under at Andersen Field.

Over a hundred kids from Penia, Mechitiw, and nearby Iras neighborhood gathered on this beautiful sunny day and learned running, hopping, jumping, skipping with John Hamann. Later on, some throwing drills were also taught.

Several volunteers helped made the day an enjoyable one for the kids. A few members of the Chuuk Athletics Association (Marz, Donis, Epi, Rufin) helped Keitani, Steve, and Nakich from SHIP HOOPS. At the end of the day, SHIP HOOPS distributed anti-drugs and anti-violence brochures for the kids to take home as part of their on-going campaign against the influence of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and violence in general.

The day was a huge success.

Onward to Sino Memorial School, Dublon Island

Four days after arriving in Chuuk, John Hamann, Adelaide based athletics trainer and coach, took his first boat-ride experience in Chuuk when he, Marz Akapito, and Donis Rudolph headed to Sino Memorial School on Dublon Island, Chuuk State, FSM.

Principal Setirik Nupeiset could not have been more enthusiastic about the visit. "We need to have a structured Phys-Ed programe at the elementary schools in Chuuk. At the moment, there is nothing going on in this area," he expressed with a hidden sadness behind the hospitable, jolly gestures that are his trademarks.

After a few minutes or recess, the 6th graders, found themselves hopped, jumped, ran, and walk to the calls from Mr. Hamann. There must have been easily over 40 kids that ended up joining the 45 minutes PE session.

For the next class period, even more kids from the 7th grade took up the lessons partly as an entertainment. John had a bit more work reminding the kids all the time that the they ought to try learn some "skills" (things) out of the encounter.

The day of visiting elementary schools ended for John, Marz, and Donis at Sapuk Elementary schools at about 2:30PM. More trips to the islands as well as the elementary schools on Weno are lined up.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Athletics Coaching Training With John Hamman

Mr. John Hamman, having completed a month of coaching development trainings in Yap, has arrived in Chuuk last night, a few hours earlier than expected by the Chuuk Athletics Association. John will conduct trainings in coaching and officiating athletics in schools and the communities of Chuuk for a month period.
Poeople like Mrs. Yosko Kim, Rufin Maras at Chuuk High School, Marz Akapito at COM, and Tommy Ungeni on Dublon, including others, have been working on a "action plan" for Mr. Hamman that will guide his schedule here in Chuuk. His itenarary includes the following:
1. One week session for secondary schools teachers (coaches) to be held at Chuuk High Campus.
2. Two-Day visit to Faichuk High School
3. Two-Day visit to Tonoas
4. 1-2 day visit to Fefen
5. Visit to Nomisofo Region
6. Sessions at selected elementary schools on Weno (Iras Demo, Mechitiw, ?/?)
7. Review of plan for implementing Physical Education at Chuuk State School System
8. Discussions with state officials at Chuuk State School System
9. Review of the COM's Exercise Sports Science program with interest for inclussion of athletics.
10. Officiating athletics clinics for field events specifically.
John will have a month to try do all of these and will need the cooperation of state education officials, schools teachers, coaches, as well as the members of the Chuuk Athletics Association to make this a fruitful exercise for him and for Chuuk.
The program is made possibl with funding and planning from the FSM National Olympic Committee, especially the hard working office staff, as part of an on-going effort for improving athletics coaching in the FSM. Many thanks to the FSMNOC, FSM Athletics Association, especially Jim Tobin and his staff.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

FSM Relay Team At Pacific Games Threatened

In 2003, the FSM men 4x100 relay team surprised the rest of the Pacific with an "unexpected" achievement by winning the bronze closely behind the superpowers PNG and Fiji on the last day of competition in Suva. It was the first time ever a team from the "northern" Pacific clinced a medal in track and field relay action. Normally, those who are keen on performance analysis of Pacific runners would predict teams like Vanuatu, Solomons, and Tahiti to mingle with Fiji and PNG in sprint events -- not the FSM. They were proven wrong.

However, this year's Pacific Games (SPG) may not see a relay team from the FSM. In recent communication between a coach and the Secretary General of the FSM Athletics Association, funding shortage will hamper the athletes hope of trying to improve on the bronze medal this time. The sad thing is, it seems the association is so convinced trying against this obstacle is a waste of time -- there is no chance on the horizon that any substantial amount could be raised.

The athletes trying to go do not have a chance of convincing the FSM National Olympic Committee and the FSM Athletics Association by way of their competitive level as the FSM Games that was set for this June has been reduced to just fruitless gossip. It is a huge wonder how the FSM is going to select its athletes for the Pacific Games through a truly national approach without some kind of recognized competition. The sports themselves have to be extremely creative and be upfront with their athletes as far as fair selection process is concerned.

So should we expect not to see an FSM relay team in Apia this September? The answer is currently hinged on a huge question mark with a thin, very very thin dollar sign.