Over the past couple of months, twenty-four talented female journalists and commentators from across the Pacific have actively participated in a comprehensive Women in Media online training programme.
Now, twelve of the participants have been selected to fly to Brisbane, Australia to complete the Women in Media two-week in-person training that kicks off on Monday 24th July.
Women in Media has been developed and delivered in partnership with Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and ABC International Development and is supported by FIFA and Team Up. For more information CLICK HERE
The region hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup has provided a unique opportunity to provide great exposure to women in all areas of football. During their two weeks in Brisbane, the participants will divide their time between ABC International Studios and the Brisbane Stadium, a venue of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
As the participants immerse themselves in the training, they will have the chance to learn from distinguished guest speakers and sports coverage experts, gaining invaluable knowledge and hands-on experience for.
Asinate Wainiqolo from Fiji will be travelling to Brisbane as a part of the commentator cohort. OFC Media had the opportunity to sit down with Wainiqolo to reflect on her commentary and Women in Media journey.
OFC: Can you describe a little bit about your commentary journey so far?
AW: “My commentary journey began in 2003 when I started as a Sports Journalist in radio at the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited. I was fortunate that I had visionary leaders who empowered me to do commentary when no other female was doing it in Fiji at the time.
I moved into TV in 2006 with Fiji Television Limited and I was fortunate to continue my commentary journey there . I’ve had so many opportunities to call all types of sports in Fiji like rugby, rugby league, football, netball, athletics, basketball, swimming and volleyball because in Fiji you get thrown into it. I’ve had to learn to sink or swim.
Twenty years later, I’m still doing it as a Media freelancer and I’ve had the good fortune of working with so many sports organisations and TV companies in Fiji and also overseas.”
OFC: What has been your favourite commentary experience?
AW: “I’ve had so many great experiences and it’s taken me all over the country and also abroad. My favourite would have to be the first time I called the swimming and netball at the Pacific Games in PNG in 2015, working with renowned commentators in the region like Brendon Telfer and Benny Pike (Australia), Ken Laban and the late Willie Lose from NZ.. I learnt so much working with these professionals.”
OFC: What is your favourite thing about the commentary?
AW: “Sports commentary is my passion and my happy place. I love the adrenaline rush, excitement, nervousness and thrill of calling games. I’m always happy too when I highlight
unknown standout players or athletes in my commentary and then they get selected for the national team. It gives me so much satisfaction that I may have played a small part in that process.”
OFC: How would you describe your Women in media commentary experience?
AW: “It’s so empowering, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to continue to learn and grow. I think it’s a great initiative to get more women in the Pacific involved in commentary because there’s not a lot of us doing it and I’m so encouraged with the interest shown by this current group of women.”
OFC: What are some key learnings you have gained from Women in Media?
AW: “I really valued the honest feedback from our trainer Peter Longman. I’ve spent years trying to perfect my craft by gauging myself against more experienced commentators that I’ve worked with. I’m so grateful that Peter is so patient and meticulous in identifying key areas in my commentary that I need to improve, especially my vocabulary so that I don’t sound too repetitive. I know that it has made me a better commentator.”
OFC: What advice would you give to women in commentary or young women wanting to be a commentator?
AW: “My advice is don’t be afraid to go into it. It’s important to have a thick skin because being a female commentator in the Pacific is still a relatively new concept. Don’t be discouraged by criticisms and obstacles that you encounter, be patient with your progress and always be willing to learn and listen to advice.”