Titan FX and AJC Vanuatu help Marius Metois keep his eye on the prize at next
month’s Commonwealth Games.
Will Marius Metois become the fourth Ni-Vanuatu judoka to compete in the Olympics? He’s working his way toward that goal with characteristic determination, starting with the Commonwealth Games, July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, UK. Right now he’s in Australia working with world-class trainers in preparation for the event. Thanks to an AU$7000 joint sponsorship from Titan FX and AJC Vanuatu, Marius can focus 100% of his time and energy on reaching the podium!
Born in New Zealand to French parents, Metois came to Vanuatu as a baby. After a brief stint in judo from age 3 to 5, he returned to the mat more seriously in 2019 at the age of 14. The Vanuatu Judo Federation quickly spotted his physical and mental affinities for the sport, and picked him as Hugo Cumbo’s training partner for the Tokyo Olympics. This naturally placed him next in line to compete for Vanuatu at this year’s Commonwealth Games, the logical gateway to Olympic participation in either 2024 or 2028.
As there are few Ni-Vanuatu judokas, Marius was hard pressed to find training partners in his half-heavyweight (-90 kg) category. As luck would have it, Australian Olympian and friend of Vanuatu Robert Ivers extended Marius an invitation to train with world-class coaching in Sydney starting in January. The young athlete quickly showed his prowess, winning one Bronze medal as a Junior at the Canberra Open, two Bronzes (one each as a Junior and Senior) at the Sydney Open, and then Gold as a Junior at the NSW Judo State Championships.
Then fate stepped in, in the form of a torn hamstring.
Rolling with the punches
“My progress was suddenly put on pause, but I was lucky enough to be well supported by two physiotherapists who put me on the path to rehabilitation. It’s taken almost two months. Now I feel much better,” confides Metois, who’s entered his last training phase before the Birmingham competition.
The accident also compromised his already stretched financial resources. As a Kiwi national he had initially been able to support himself in expensive Sydney, working as a fundraiser for the Life Saving Australia volunteer organization. But with the intensive rehabilitation, there simply weren’t enough hours in the day anymore.
“I still had to keep training the upper portion of my body, twice a day, to maintain my power gains. My lifestyle quickly became miserable as I had to wake up at 4 a.m. for rehabilitation, then work at fundraising all day, then train from 7 p.m. and come back home at 9 p.m. at the earliest. As you can imagine my performance plummeted, both in my judo skills and in sales at work, and I had to make a choice. That’s when I reached out to sponsors for help,” Metois recalls.
Vanuatu’s fintech leader Titan FX teamed up with consulting firm AJC to come up with AU$3500 each, enough to cover the athlete’s expenses until he flies to Europe (the travel costs are separately covered by VASANOC), and also his rent while he’s away.
For AJC, this is a second contribution to Vanuatu judo as the firm also sponsored Nazario Fiakaifonu when he competed in the 2012 London Olympics.
Skilled on and off the mat
Few 18-year-olds think long-term; not only does Marius have two major life pursuits, he’s already well advanced in both.
While he’ll keep raising his judo skills to international levels, Marius has his eye on a career in film and video in Australia, and intends to start seriously exploring the field once his first Olympic bid is over.
The aspiring filmmaker has already distinguished himself with a short documentary released before the last Paralympic Games with the support of the Australian High Commission. Entitled Mi Tu Mi Save Mekem (“I can do it too”), the film tells the uplifting stories of two young Paralympic athletes, Marceline Moli from Santo and Elie Enok from Malekula. You can watch it on YouTube.