Rio Gives Joy, Let’s Celebrate Today, Tomorrow
When Osea Kolinisau and Team Fiji men’s sevens rugby team sank to their knees to receive their gold medals for Princess Anne at the Deodoro Stadium, it marks a defining moment for our country of less than 1million people
It was a moment of great historical significance for our nation and we indeed need to celebrate this rare achievement starting in Nadi today. Rio Olympics 2016 will forever be remembered by this current and the future generations. The achievement of Team Fiji’s men’s rugby sevens team would have a marked and lasting impact and would definitely inspire many young people to emulate. We proved to the world that despite being a small island nation in Pacific Ocean, we can compete and beat the best. And as the 31st Olympiad came to a close at the Maracana Stadium, we fared better than most countries which are more wealthier and resourceful than us.
Out of the 205 participating countries, we finished 51st better than such big countries as India, Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal and Ireland. Today and tomorrow we should honor our rugby sevens heroes who sacrificed a lot to bring us glory Coach Ben Ryan and the team showed that rugby is truly a global game and deserved a place back in the four-yearly showpiece since the Paris Olympics 1924.
It’s almost a foregone conclusion now that the International Olympic Committee would give rugby sevens a permanent spot at the 2020 Olympics and beyond when they meet in May, 2017. How the Fijians mesmerised the world with a show of rugby brilliance and pure class was quite exceptional. Beating Olympic nations Brazil, Argentina, United States, New Zealand, Japan and Great Britain and to come out the only unbeaten team in competition showed real character, grit and quality of a team who trained in the sand dunes, sleep in dormitories and operate on a shoestring budget. We should be united in our stand to celebrate a unique occasion and we should applaud the Government, Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, businesses, Fiji Rugby Union, donors and generous fans and the players’ families for being supportive for the national cause from the start. We should be proud that we are the only country in the world who celebrate our sporting achievements by declaring a public holiday to pay tribute to our heroes. Let’s welcome our heroes today (Nadi), and tomorrow (Suva) and celebrate a job well done.
Fijian 7s Team captain Osea Kolinisau celebrates after winning Fiji’s first Olympic gold medal in Rio.