'Awesome' Ipswich club helps family achieve multiple success
AT an Ipswich sporting nursery producing multiple successes, one delightful Eastern Heights family is setting new standards.
The closeknit Vaivela siblings, of Samoan heritage, recently excelled competing at the regional championships for the first time.
Deja, Devonte-lei and Ocean qualified for next month's Queensland Little Athletics State Championships after being part of the Ipswich team which won an amazing 235 medals.
Deja equalled the under 9 200m record.
Devonte-lei and Ocean also showed the benefits of hard work and good coaching by placing top three in a number of sprinting, jumping and throwing events.
Proud father Omaha was thrilled how the three children have responded at the Ipswich centre, helped by two coaches.
Experienced Ipswich mentor Mick Moore has been working with Devonte-lei and Ocean.
The Vaivela children's older sister Keisha is also devoting more time as a coach for Deja.
"They help each other. They push each other along,'' Omaha said.
Omaha was pleased how the children qualified for the state titles being newcomers to regional competition.
"We didn't do any competitive events last year. We just took it to Friday nights (club competition),'' Omaha said.
"So this is the first year they actually got to compete.
"Every event they tried out for, they made for state. That was the big surprise.''
However, he attributed that to coaching in recent months.
"Before they had coaching, they weren't coming anywhere in shotput and discus and now they've started - really at the start of this year - and they've gone from 20th or 10th to top three.''
Omaha, a former sprinter competing for NSW, said the family love of athletics started with his mother Ruth. She was also a sprinter in Samoa, competing for New Zealand.
Omaha, a foreman at a construction site, was born in Australia, moving to Queensland in 2005.
Deja and Ocean are students at Silkstone State School.
Devonte-lei attends Ipswich State High with her older sister, year 12 student Keisha.
Devonte-lei and Deja also gained state selection this year in Oztag.
With ongoing support from Omaha's wife Stephanie, the children have thrived at the Ipswich Little Athletics Centre, based at Bill Paterson Oval.
"They are awesome, well organised,'' Omaha said of the coaches and officials at Ipswich Little A's.
"They are a friendly bunch and very helpful.''
Deja, Devonte-lei and Ocean will be part of the powerhouse Ipswich contingent contesting the state titles at QSAC from March 23-25.
As for why his children love athletics, Omaha said it was "the fellowship of friends''.
"Just going and enjoying it, and training hard as well,'' the supportive dad said.
Seeing Deja, Devonte-lei and Ocean progressing so well, it's hard to argue with that.
How the Vaivela family athletes impressed at the recent regional championships.
Déjà Vaivela, aged 9: 1st 200m (equal record), 1st 100m, 1st 70m, 3rd long jump.
Devonte-lei Vaivela, 12: 2nd 400m, 2nd 200m, 3rd 100m, 3rd discus.
Ocean Vaivela, 10: 1st shot put, 3rd discus.