Thank You Serevi for the Memories
As the celebrations continue with the victorious 2016 Olympic Gold 7s rugby team I thought I to take a trip down memory lane and revisit one of our national treasures. This person is considered across the globe to be the greatest 7s rugby player of all time – his name, of course, is Waisale Tikoisolomoni Serevi.
This individual has placed Fiji firmly on the map as the most feared and respected team in the game of 7s Rugby. In fact it was during those early days of the sport that Serevi held court on the rugby field and dazzled us with his feint foot skills, pace and overall generalship of the game. He was not one to always score the vital tries to win the games even though he was a prolific try scorer himself, but more so the engine room to set up and offload to his team mates to make the tries that made the difference. In key games it was Serevi who summoned his troops and kept a level head when others where losing their cool. It was the maestro who led from the front and delivered win after win on the national circuit.
In fact Serevi represented our beloved Fiji for a staggering 18 years from 1989 to 2007 which is an incredible feat in itself.
Having travelled extensively abroad for many years, it is always pleasing to know people are aware of Fiji and probably are most famous exports are FIJI Water, which is a household name in many parts of the world followed by Rugby 7s and Serevi and in Golf where Vijay Singh has made an international name for himself. Waisale Tikoisolomoni Serevi was born on May 20, 1968 and just like many young children loved rugby.
Initially he was thought too small to play his favourite sport and was even dropped from the final squad to play club rugby.
As with all great athletes being small and slight in build was never going to be a problem and Serevi used his build to his advantage by developing a game where he did not need to crash and bang his way through the opposing team, but rather glide and mesmerise the opposing team as he kept mounting up try after try. He got his big break to represent his senior provincial side when he was just 17-years-old and the rest as they say is history. Serevi is a committed Christian and draws his faith from the famous biblical quote “Philippians
4.13” The quote says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Which is a very inspiring citation, but during my one on one interview with him Serevi also notes all things can be done through faith, but it requires a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment. We can all quote many biblical phrases, but that is only 1 per cent, the other 99 per cent is the commitment to follow it through. In 2013 Serevi was given the great honour of being inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame – he was the first Fijian in history to receive this tribute. The presentation took place during the famous Hong Kong Tournament on the World Rugby 7s circuit. The Chairman of World Rugby at the time Bernard Lapasset said this about Serevi: “He was an exceptional player who has excelled in both 7s and 15s and achieved all that there is to achieve in rugby 7s, while also winning the hearts of fans around the world with his exciting and entertaining style of play”.
Well there you have it, the legendry Waisale Tikoisolomoni Serevi, the greatest 7s rugby player in history and an inspiration for many other Fijians to follow.
‘The maestro’ Waisale Serevi in action.
Ajay Bhai Amrit meets Waisale Serevi.