Cun­ning­ham hon­ours Kolin­isau

Fiji Sun - - Sport - JUS­TINE MAN­NAN jus­­nan@fi­

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

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