FNU opens new Sports and Wellness Centre

Press Release Posted On: April 1, 2022

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum commended the Fiji National University (FNU) for enhancing the student learning experience following the opening of the state-of-the-art Sports and Wellness Centre at Nasinu Campus.

Hon Sayed-Khaiyum officiated as Chief Guest during the event and was joined by the Guest of Honour, Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Honourable Premila Kumar.

FNU Council and senior management, representatives from sporting bodies, the project design and construction team and staff and students were also present at the occasion. The double-storey facility costed $9 million.

FNU Acting Deputy VC Dr William May, Tui Kalabu, AG Hon Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum & Minister for Education Hon Premila Kumar at the FNU Sports &Wellness Centre opening.

Minister Sayed-Khaiyum said the establishment of a modern wellness complex highlighted the university’s commitment to creating a tertiary experience that was both academic and practical in nature.

“One of the ideas of Government was that to ensure that we provide a learning environment that is not only providing another source of academic training or academic excellence but also in respect of providing training,” he said.

“This particular wellness centre also highlights the inroads that FNU is making in terms of the learning environment it is creating and also the availability of new courses.”

“We need to be able to create a learning environment where other countries can recognise not just our raw talent, but a talent that has actually gone through a particular type of training.”

“I was really glad to hear from the Vice-Chancellor the types of courses and training that will actually be made available through FNU. It really enhances the potential and if you already have a population that is so keen in sports, the ability to then enhance that potential in an academic manner yet in a sort of very practical manner will mean lots more people will get jobs.”

“A lot more people will be employed and we can actually make Fiji not just a regional hub, but indeed a global hub.”

Professor Toby Wilkinson.

FNU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Toby Wilkinson highlighted that the facility would be used by the University’s sports science students and will facilitate the delivery of the new Bachelor of Sports Education and Exercise Science course.

“Programme units include Coaching & Refereeing, Sports Management and Organisation, Sports Medicine, Strength and Conditioning, Sports Nutrition, Sports Physiotherapy, and Sports Tourism,” Prof Wilkinson stated.

“This diverse and relevant curriculum will empower our students to find fulfilling careers in the global sports sector.”

“The completion of the state-of-the-art FNU Sports & Wellness Centre realises a longstanding ambition of the University: to provide our students and staff with world-class opportunities for sports, health and wellbeing, alongside facilities for enhanced training in sports science.”

“By fostering healthy minds and healthy bodies, we are confident that the Centre will play a key role in the future success of the University and its students, and will deliver excellent value for money, and an excellent return on investment, for the public funds that have made it possible.”

Prof Wilkinson’s special guests, two-time Olympian and Fiji 7s player Jerry Tuwai, Olympian swimmer and educator Cheyenne Rova and Fijian Drua’s Head of Athletic Performance, Naca Cawanibuka also applauded the University for investing in health and sports education.

“As a sportsperson myself, I know the gym helps me keep fit. Keeping fit eradicates a lot of diseases and it will help not just the students and staff but also the community,” Tuwai said.

“To everyone who wants to pursue Sports Science as a career, I’d advise you to take it. It’s a good career. For me, it helps me go around the world and achieve a lot of things. Not just for myself but for Fiji.”

Rova added that sports had the power to change lives and mindsets.

“I want others, girls and women especially, to know that you too can do anything you want if you set your minds and attitudes to it. Regardless of age, that’s just a number,” Rova said.

“If we all encourage, lift and motivate each other more than we compare, judge and criticize each other, we can move mountains together and grow sport and combat NCDs (non-communicable diseases) within our communities and nation as a whole.”

Cawanibuka reflected on the developments that have taken place on campus in sports and education over the years.

“To the students, the lecturers who will use the facility and the general public who will come in and be part of the new centre, I am sure you will all enjoy world-class facilities and resources that will help us. Not only in our education, but also in sports, in health and wellbeing,” he said.

The FNU Sports & Wellness Centre is an indoor sports and fitness gymnasium that consists of international-level indoor courts and Olympic-standard flooring for sports such as Volleyball, Basketball, Netball, Badminton and Futsal Soccer. The facility will also have a rainwater harvesting system.