Thank You Serevi for the Mem­o­ries

Fiji Sun - - Ajay Bhai Amrit - AJAY BHAI AM­RIT The writer is a Fiji Sun colum­nist. Edited by Jonathan Bryce Feed­back: ajay@carv­ing­

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.

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