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Moranbah’s own Jovyn Pitt recently represented Australia on the international stage, participating in the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.

The former Moranbah State High School Captain and Indigenous Captain is studying Health Science at James Cook University in Townsville.

Having stood out for his academic excellence and his compelling application, Jovyn was selected as one of only five students chosen from Australia for the Exercise Science support team at the Pacific Games. His role at the Games was comprehensive, spanning a variety of sports.

“My journey started with rugby league, then progressed to touch rugby. I also got involved in boxing, volleyball, hockey, and judo,” said Jovyn on supporting athletes across different disciplines.

Jovyn’s role in the Pacific Games focused on exercise science, with a particular emphasis on strength and conditioning, technique, and program structuring.

He assisted athletes in refining their techniques and developing structured training programs. This involved not just physical training but also included aspects like helping athletes with their form and ensuring they followed effective conditioning routines.

Jovyn described his experience at the Pacific Games as ‘a real eye-opener’, confronting numerous challenges and learning invaluable lessons.

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“The cultural and language barriers were significant,” he reflected, underscoring the importance of mastering non-verbal communication amid varied cultural norms.

He observed the impact of religious practices on training schedules, requiring adaptability and understanding. However, it was socioeconomic conditions of the athletes were particularly striking to him.

“Witnessing their limited transportation options and learning about their minimal weekly earnings was a stark revelation.”

These experiences not only honed his professional skills but also deepened his appreciation for the diverse struggles and resilience encountered across different cultures.

The personal connection of Jovyn’s family to the islands added to the experience. This link helped him understand the athletes’ backgrounds and the challenges they faced.

“There was a bit of home in it, though I haven’t experienced life on the islands myself previously. It was good to experience what I did, considering my dad’s family and history with the Pacific Islands.”

The Pacific Games, also known as SOL2023, is a multi-sport event for Oceania countries and was held in Honiara, Solomon Islands in November and December. It was the first time the Solomon Islands hosted the event. New Caledonia topped the medal table by both total golds (82) and total medals (197), with Tahiti finishing second by both respects (57 and 160). Australia finished third, setting a record for the most gold medals and total medals ever won by their delegation at a Pacific Games with 50 and 84.

Samoa finished fourth, with a total of 34 gold and 76 medals. Papua New Guinea rounded off the top five list with 29 gold medals and third in the overall medal count, with 105 medals. Host nation Solomon Islands won twelve gold medals and 78 medals, its best result at any Pacific Games, finishing in seventh place. Marshall Islands won their first ever Pacific Games gold medals, a record five all from weightlifting.

Post-games, Jovyn aims to specialise in elite sports, having secured an internship with the Cowboys. His responsibilities include strength and conditioning, video analysis, and game support.

“I’m in my final year of university and after completing my degree I plan to pursue a master’s degree in this field. My experience, including the internship with the Cowboys, has shaped my ambition to work in strength and conditioning for professional sports teams. This path not only aligns with my academic goals but also with my passion for sports and fitness.”

When asked if he felt that living in a rural mining town was a barrier to his education Jovyn responded,

“Any kid, no matter where they’re from, can reach for university and beyond. It’s about having a plan, doing well in school, and embracing the opportunities that come your way, even in the most rural of places.

“Teachers played a crucial role in my journey, and with their support, what seemed impossible became achievable. I’ve seen it firsthand, from Moranbah to international arenas, helping communities and working with elite sporting teams. Anyone can achieve great things with determination and goals.

“Eventually, if the opportunity arises, I’d definitely consider going overseas again. Working with the rugby league or any other sport internationally would be an incredible experience. Similar to my time at the Pacific Games, I believe these international experiences can greatly enrich my professional skills and understanding of different cultures in sports.”

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