ONOC honours two Oceania champions of sport

May 13, 2022
Sainimili Saukuru (FIJ) and Chet Gray (AUS) with their ONOC Merit Awards for long-term outstanding contributions to sport in Oceania through education and administration. | Photo: ONOC

Sport needs a diverse and functioning ecosystem to produce and sustain athletes and games; and two individuals who lead in this ecosystem in Oceania were awarded the ONOC Merit Award recently – Sainimili Saukuru (FIJ) and Chet Gray (AUS).


ONOC President Robin Mitchell said, ‘Sainimili Saukuru, past Chief Sport Education Programme Officer of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) and Chet Gray, Secretary-General of the Organisation of Sporting Federations of Oceania (OSFO) received their awards from Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

‘Saukuru has been instrumental in the development of the community-based Oceania Sport Education Programme (OSEP) which she worked with from 2007 to December 2021 – leaving a legacy of qualified sport trainers, educators, and administrators.  

IOC President presents Sainimili Saukuru with her award. Both ONOC Merit Award recipients received their awards from President Bach. | Photo: ONOC

‘She worked from the ground up and contributed to creating and sustaining a community-based programme that is recognised as a flagship in the Olympic Movement  

‘The programme underwent an independent external evaluation under her management and the recommendations are now being implemented – part of which means that accrediting courses with the Pacific Community through micro-qualifications means graduates will be recognised in Pacific Island countries and this will impact their value and worth.  

Kevan Gosper (C) with Sainimili Saukuru (L) and Chet Gray (R) who are the 2022 recipients of the ONOC Merit Award. IOC President Thomas Bach presented the awards at the ONOC XLII AGA in Nadi, Fiji. Gosper is former President of ONOC, a former Vice-President of the IOC, and current President of OSFO. | Photo: ONOC

‘Saukuru’s work contributes to the professionalising of graduates of the OSEP course and will also contribute to strengthening the Pacific Island sporting industry’.

On award recipient Chet Gray, Mitchell said ‘Chet received the award for his contribution in building and strengthening sporting federations in Oceania.

‘We in Oceania are the only Continent that has regional federations so national federations access support through two avenues: first through their membership of our National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and second, through their membership of their regional federations.

‘Chet has been the Secretary-General of OSFO from its formation in 2005 and has worked hard to build relationships and bring OSFO to what it is today, and this has strengthened not only ONOC but has had wider positive impact in the region as well.

‘The good work that OSFO does has an impact on athlete development, performance, and games in the region, and part of that is definitely linked to Chet’s work.’  

‘We are very pleased to have rewarded two exceptional people who have contributed to sport through administration and education.’

OSFO President Kevan Gosper commended Chet Gray for his ‘enormous contribution to sporting in the Oceania continent’.

Gosper said, ‘Chet Gray is one of the most remarkable and active sports officials in Oceania and his diligence, work ethic, and imagination has built OSFO into the important organisation it is in  Oceania.

‘He heads up the only sports federation group in the five continents; no other continent has a so-called sports federation group and Chet has done this with great style and I’ve trusted him enormously with this work.’

Chet Gray comments on surprise win


For more information:

On the Oceania National Olympic Committees
On the Organisation of Sporting Federations of Oceania
On the International Olympic Committee
On the Oceania Sport Education Programme


About ONOC 
Established in 1981, the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) is one of five Continental Associations. It looks after the interests of 17 member nations in the Oceania Region, including Australia and New Zealand as well as seven associate members. 

ONOC has an office in Guam where Secretary General Mr. Ricardo Blas is based and the Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, where the Office of the President Dr Robin Mitchell is located.

All services and-programmes are based on the ONOC Strategic Plan for 2018-2021, and its 4 Core Functions of (1) Building and Strengthening NOCs Capacity (2) Cultivating Strategic Partnerships (3) Contributing towards Sporting Excellence and (4) Leading by Example.


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Inoke Bainimarama
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