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Rio Olympics, SPORTS

Oceania Celebrates Our Gold Medal Win

Oceania Celebrates Our Gold Medal Win
Princess Anne presents Semi Kunatani his gold medal. Standing (from left), Apisai Domolailai, Jasa Veremalua and Viliame Mata at Deodara Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Zimbio
August 15
13:25 2016

These were comments recorded after Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens side won the country’s first ever gold medal at the Olympic Games.

 

PRIME MINISTER VOREQE BAINIMARAMA

“It’s a wonderful feeling but first let me say that where ever they are in the world all Fijians are proud to be Fijians today, very much. The team has made the nation proud but not only that we all wanted them to win because they deserve this win they have been working hard at it on the sand dunes for the last two months or so plus we didn’t have the resources that the big nations have.

“I want to thank all the supporters here especially our Pacific Islands the Oceania they’ve come together to support us and they were they were great in the rugby stands.

“It’s a history in the making as I said I can’t describe the feeling that we have after the win because the boys played magnificent rugby. I said from the start they’ll see Fijian brand of rugby and the boys showed that today. We’ll also have a holiday when the team comes home”

 

HUGH GRAHAM

President Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC)

“Well its history in the making for Fiji, we’re very proud of this achievement, their first ever gold medal in the 7s. Obviously it’s a huge achievement for Fiji but also for us in the small island nations as you can hear I lost my voice from cheering for Fiji but they deserve it, well done.”

 

ROBERT GRAHAM

Secretary General CISNOC and Chef de Mission.

“I was expecting a little bit closer. I knew Fiji was going to win soon as I saw the Great Britain team come out for the semifinals. Seeing how they played then and yesterday as well then I knew straight away that it’s a definitely going to be for Fiji.

“You know I’m really proud of Fiji’s achievements and I’m rapped because they’ve won the gold for Fiji but also for us Oceania. I was really proud for Dr Mitchell up there for all of us, one ocean one family.”

 

RICARDO BLAS

ONOC Secretary General and Guam NOC President.

“Just watching the Fiji boys play, they played their hearts out and boy they just went for that task every time there was an opportunity and the end result gold medal for Fiji and Oceania.

“Thank you Fiji for giving Oceania this honour, thank you.”

 

DR ROBIN MITCHELL

IOC Member and ONOC President

“It’s something I did not expect to see in my lifetime knowing how the Olympic Games is and where we are in terms of sports but when rugby was introduced I thought this was our chance.

“If we don’t do it in 2016 then it’ll be much more difficult in 2020 when the rest of the world catches up. But for me after the semi finals, I was no longer nervous after how well our guys played. I’ve seen them play like this before but not throughout the whole game.

“The awarding of medals is by IOC protocol and for me I think it was good, it was good that the Princess Royal was the one to present the medals too and I don’t know whether you noticed but she did ‘cobo’ in response to the boys. I figured it was good.”

 

ANTOINE BOUDIER

VASANOC President

“Yeah it was really representing Oceania. So Vanuatu behind Fiji and the gold medal that they actually brought back to the Oceania region is a gold medal for Vanuatu and everybody here. We are so proud of Fiji. We were behind them cheering them and I mean for us it was a very big honour to be here. We are so proud. It was just like we were all Fijians.”

 

CYRILLE MAINGUY

VASANOC SG

“Well I was hoping Fiji’s dominating rugby 7s at the moment and so you know when South Africa lost to Great Britain I thought that was a blessing for Fiji and Fiji was just too good, I mean good they let them score one try. I thought the Fijian players were just brilliant and when they received the medal that Fijian respect you know kneeling in front of Princess Anne I really thought this is a bunch of humble players and they won gold and for the first time in 92 years that rugby is back and the gold is for Fiji. Like I told everyone it’s for Fiji first and for Oceania. All the islands were behind Fiji. So well done.”

 

AUVITA RAPILLA

IOC Member AND PNGOC SG

“It’s incredible. Fiji’s gold medal win is historic and it’s not just a win for Fiji, it’s a win for the Pacific and Oceania and we are all celebrating.

I think there’s a lot of good things ahead of us and you know it goes to show that our athletes from the Pacific we can just be as competitive, yeah we are very, very excited and very happy for Fiji and happy for Oceania.”

 

LORRAINE MAR

FASANOC CEO

“We’ve got to thank the effort of this team, they are the ones who brought us this gold, not only by their performance, it was a team effort everyone was yelling out for Ben Ryan. It was a team effort. At the end of the day it’s the performance of the athletes and just have to say a big vinaka vakalevu to them.

“It was just great for the whole of Oceania and then we had majority of the stadium cheering for Fiji. Fiji’s very popular and this win is good for Fiji out on the world stage and I’m sure there’ll be a lot of returns for us.

 

BILL BEAUMONT

World Rugby Chairman

“It was a fantastic event and the best team won it easily and it’s amazing that Fiji has never won a medal before. I can see rugby becoming a core sport and Fiji will go on to win a lot of medals in the future.

“I think it shows the humility of the Fijian players that they are very humble but actually very proud of their roots and they are a great example to people and their manners are a credit to their nation, so well done Fiji.

“I think the amazing quality of play that we’ve had six days now of rugby it’s been exciting, it’s been vibrant, lots of people and we’ve been reaching new markets without sort of ignoring our old markets but I can see rugby going from strength to strength and hopefully in Fiji more girls and boys, man and woman will start to play the game.”

 

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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