The Oceania Athletics Association presented Life Membership to Mr Albert Miller (FIJ) and Mr Denis Wilson AM (AUS) at the Oceania Athletics Association Congress Dinner in Fiji at the time of the OAA Congress.
Albert Miller has been involved in all facets of the sport of Athletics since a very early age. Albert started out as an 11-year old competing in local athletics and went on to represent Fiji at the Olympics in the Decathlon. Still today Albert is competing and will compete at this year’s Oceania Area Championships in the Masters Division.
Albert made the successful transition from Athlete to Coach and Sports Administrator. For a number of years Albert held the position of General Secretary of Athletics Fiji before taking on the role of President. At the same time Albert was a member of the Oceania Athletics Association Council and was a member of the IAAF Coaches Commission.
Today Albert remains an active member of the Athletics Family and is currently employed by Athletics Fiji in a Development Officer’s role. In addition, Albert is currently Lecturing through the Pacific in both the coaching and technical officiating sectors.
On receiving his award, Albert thanked Oceania Athletics for his Life Membership “I never did Athletics to win awards, I did it because I love it”. Albert said his commitment went further “I’d like to thank my beautiful wife Litiana for all of her support and for her being part of the plan to have our 3 beautiful sons at four year intervals so that we could continue to compete at the Pacific Games”.
He competed in three Olympic Games (Los Angeles, Barcelona and Seoul), and won the gold medal in the Decathlon at the 1983, 1987 and 1991 South Pacific Games. Albert was inducted into the Fiji Sporting Hall of Fame in 2007. He is still the Pacific Games record holder for the Decathlon.
Denis Wilson’s contribution to athletics has been immense from club to international level – as an athlete, official and administrator of the highest quality. Whilst always as an amateur or volunteer has always been in a professional manner.
It began as a world class middle-distance athlete which just happened to coincide with Oceania’s dominance of the event group internationally. There were advantages and disadvantages. National titles and team representations were sparse as a result – there was only for example one Australian championship medal, a bronze in the mile in 1960.
But there was a special opportunity, which Denis grasped, to be a world record holder – leading off Albie Thomas, John Murray and Herb Elliott to set a world 4 x one mile relay record of 16:26.6 in Melbourne in March 1959.
Denis was a Vice-President of Athletics Australia for a period of 11 years. Denis was also honoured in 2001 as Oceania recipient of the IAAF Plaque of Merit recognising the extraordinary breadth of his contribution to global and regional athletics.
In major competition organisation and in officiating Denis has been a leader in every sense of the word. He was chair of the technical working group and as well as competition technical manager for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Sydney before being appointed to the same roles for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Paralympics.
At a regional level, Denis made his principal contribution and in a most substantial way, as a member of the IAAF Technical Committee from 1985 for 19 years and since his retirement in 2003, as IAAF technical consultant. He is one of the most revered members of the Committee having encouraged it to take on greater roles in the areas of certification, surveying and accuracy of both facilities and equipment. Still today, Denis is used as an expert in the Oceania Area in relation to current and new facilities.
Oceania Athletics Association congratulates Albert and Denis on their Life Membership.