Fiji’s Oldest Gym

The electrical box at Charman’s All Races Club in Suva, Fiji, an old gym in the middle of the capital city. The gym is notable for three things:

  1. It is the oldest gym in Fiji, and is where the Fijian Rugby Team trained for years. History is infused in the walls, the beams, the floorboards – soaked with the sweat and blood of champions. (And check out the support pillar on the right – basically, the whole building is held up with roughly finished tree trunks.)
  2. It’s an All Races Club. In Fiji, there is a LOT of racial tension, with many bars, clubs, and social halls specifically set aside for “indigenous” Fijians, to the exclusion of people of Indian, Chinese or European descent. So when we saw this was specifically open to everyone, we HAD to support it. 
  3. Those markings. Who knows who made them, and how much weight they were putting up? Actually, having met a few Fijian rugby players, I can answer that: A LOT. 

It is old, and worn, and some of the equipment doesn’t quite work, but to pay three Fijian dollars to do squats with the same bars that some of the best rugby players in history used – it was well worth a visit! (Joe, behind the desk, is a former international sevens player who is now studying sports psychology and law, and talking to him is also worth the price of admission.) 

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