Cunningham honours Kolinisau
Residents of Cunningham Stage One in Suva came together yesterday in a thanksgiving celebration for Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens captain Osea Kolinisau. Wainimako Olympic 7s Celebration committee chairman Livai Siga said this was the moment they had been waiting for. “We started planning this celebration soon after our boys won gold in Rio,” he said. “We had a church meeting and we decided that we wanted to do something great for Osea’s achievement. The whole community, family and friends came together to organise this special moment. “We fundraised through the church but we also looked for sponsors and allowed the community to help as well.” Siga said the short footpath leading towards Kolinisau’s house has been unofficially named the ‘Olympics 7s Lane.’ “We applied to Suva City Council for a formal approval in renaming this lane the ‘Olympic 7s Lane’ but unfortunately they did not respond so the naming of the lane is still unofficial,” he said. “But hopefully they do approve and we can rename it in honour of Osea.” Kolinisau was overwhelmed with the celebration that was held in his honour. No matter where in life I end up, Kolinisau says, he will never forget the place he came from, Wainimako, as that is the place where I started playing rugby as a kid. “Looking at these small kids sitting here reminds me of when I used to be just like them playing at the Wainimako roundabout,” he said. Reminiscing about the gold medal win in Rio, Kolinisau recalled a reporter who asked him about the place he grew up playing rugby. “There was a reporter who asked me after the Olympics if I had a playground near my place where I could play rugby. I said no we didn’t we just had a roundabout and then the reporter asked me if I played rugby in my area wearing boots, and I said no I played barefoot and he was quite amazed.
“Playing barefoot actually helped me become a better player and it helped me build a better relationship with the youths in my community.
“I will never forget the place I came from. When I go for games I am always told not to forget God, my vanua, family and the place I grew up from. So when I go overseas to play rugby I am not just representing myself, I’m representing everyone.” Kolinisau has been living in Wainimako, Cunningham for the past 23 years. Edited by Leone Cabenatabua