On April 27th, at Warwick Le Lagon resort, the first Vanuatu Sports Awards ever were held in Port-Vila, organised by the VASANOC (Vanuatu National Olympic Committee).
The Vanuatu's first event of its kind was organised to celebrate excellence in Sportsmen and Sportswomen in Vanuatu, with 11 different awards categories. Many other federations received trophies throughout the night, and so was the VBF twice.
Firstly, Junior MAHIT, VBF very own referee, was awarded as the Technical Official Of The Year. A well deserved recognition, and a very moving moment for someone that has invested his time, energy and his own money in representing his country on the international stage.
"I share Henry TAVOA's footstep (VASANOC CEO, former National soccer Team representative). We both haven't had the chance to represent our country as member of the National Team of our" he said. "But I traveled on my own money, many times to officiate in basketball competition where Vanuatu was not represented, because I'm passioned by my sport and proud to represent my country" the Ambae island native added.
Indeed, Junior represented Vanuatu as a referee in several competitions, recently at the 2017 Melanesian Cup and the Van 2017 Pacific Mini Games. He will be also part of the officials crew that will officiate in Samoa for the 2019 Pacific Games.
The second moment when VBF name came up on stage was when Sacha DUTHU, VBF National Basketball Development Officer, and the Vanuatu 3x3 National Team coach, received the Coach Of The Year award. The Van 2017 bronze medalist coach took time to acknowledge the people that helped him to become a coach.
"I'm standing here with that trophy on my hands, with a lot of humility and proudness. I've come a long way, and it's not just about me, but about the people that have supported me throughout the year" The French native acknowledged. "I would like to thank the man behind that success, my former basketball club's president, M. Bruno TARRICQ. He pushed me to become a coach when I was 14, and since he passed away 9 years ago, I'm thinking of him everyday, and thanking him for what he learnt me : give back what your received" he added.
Starting from scratch with a new discipline to master with his players, the 24 years-old coach got to win the bronze medal with the 3x3 Women's team in front of the home crowd, the first medal ever of the Vanuatu's basketball history.
Theses two awards from the federations' umbrella, The Vanuatu National Olympic Committee, come to acknowledge VBF recent hard work to put basketball back to the top of Vanuatu's sport stage. Without all the basketball volunteers, players and fans, the Federation would never have received them.
Tankio tumas long yufala everyone