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May 28, 2001

How about this for a feat?

A tiny South Pacific Nation with a population of less than 11,000 people triumphant against Nations with a population of more than one million.

The tiny nation of the Republic of Nauru is only 21 square kilometers and is celebrating their first gold medal in football at the fourth International Football Championships held as part of the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia on Friday night.

Competing against sides such as Japan and the Northern Territory, the Nauruan Australian Rules Football team defeated an all-Aboriginal team from Western Australia, the Central Desert Eagles to win the gold medal.

Weightlifting had dominated sport in Nauru for many years and with little funding and with the help of some local sponsors, Air Nauru, Nauru Insurance and Australian football jumper manufacturer, Burley Sekem, the Nauru Chiefs were able to put weightlifting on the back burner and play football.

Nauru is using the championships as an important lead up to the AFL International Cup, which will be held in Melbourne in August 2002.

Australian rules football has become popular in the South Pacific region with sides from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Nauru competing in various championships.

Final score, Nauru Chiefs 13.13.91 defeated Central Desert Eagles 5.5.35.

Gary Turner Media Consultant Air Nauru/Nauru Chiefs 

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