Thomas Bach participated in the popular Fijian sport of rugby during his visit to the Pacific Island today ©IOC/Twitter

International Olympic Committee President (IOC) Thomas Bach was in typically enthusiastic form as he visited Fiji today, participating in a rugby training session before praising "great efforts" made to promote sport during a meeting with the Organisation of Sports Federations of Oceania.

The German, who will attend tomorrow's Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) General Assembly in Suva, also conveyed his best wishes for July's Pacific Games in Port Moresby, claiming how the presence of continental giants Australia and New Zealand for the first time shows the "power of sport for peace".

 “It’s progress in every aspect and I really hope the Pacific Games will offer great success to you," he told participants today.

"You deserve success with all the preparation and efforts you’ve made towards the competition."

He then explained the importance of his Olympic Agenda 2020 reform process, prioritising "feeling the spirit of cooperation between the Federations and NOCs and recognising the great efforts you all are undertaking in your federation to promote sports, to have dialogue with society and to contribute to health and better education".  
“These are all initiatives which are encouraged by the Olympic Agenda 2020 to make ourselves aware of the values we have to offer to society," he added.

Thomas Bach was welcomed to Fiji in traditional manner with a
Thomas Bach was welcomed to Fiji in traditional manner with a "kava" ceremony on his arrival ©Twitter

These words were particularly poignant given how Fiji has been rocked by political controversy in recent years, being suspended from the Commonwealth following a military coup which rendered them unable to compete at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

But, with greater stability now in place, the island nation is now targeting a first ever Olympic medal in Rio next year, something made more likely by the addition of rugby sevens, a sport at which Fijians have traditionally excelled. 

During his visit so far - which comes during a grueling period of travelling which has already included visits to United States, Serbia, Kosovo, Russia, India and Australia and will continue with trips to Vanuatu and New Zealand next week, the official also met with Fijian President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today at Government House.

Bach will speak during tomorrow's General Assembly at the Grand Pacific Hotel, where he is expected to be joined by Association of National Olympic Committees President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, who was yesterday voted onto the ruling Executive Committee of football governing body, FIFA.

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