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Rio Olympics, SPORTS


Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens conditioning coach Naca Cawanibuka (right) chats with women’s head coach and men’s skills coach Chris Cracknell after the Olympic rugby sevens final at Deodoro Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Bruce Southwick/ZoomFiji.
August 18
11:21 2016


When Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens team won the country’s first ever Olympic gold medal at the Deodoro Stadium the focus was on the players and head coach, Ben Ryan.

But working tirelessly behind the scene and one of the unsung heroes of our Olympic win was none other than their conditioning coach, Naca Cawanibuka.

This is the man Ryan turns to when it comes to ensuring that the players are to be in the best shape of their lives and be able to perform to their best.

“My job is to ensure that the players are in better body shape and for them to take a more scientific approach rather than just lifting weights and get fatigued,” Cawanibuka, who hails for the chiefly village of Tavuki, Kadavu, said.

“Rugby requires a combination of explosive power, muscular endurance and maximal strength.”

All of these cannot be achieved without a dedicated coach or trainer like Cawanibuka who assisted Ryan not only during the preparation period for the Rio Olympics but also throughout the World Sevens Series where they recorded back-to-back wins.

The former national rugby sevens rover said this is not an easy position to be in as the works he does would show on the players’ actions in the field of play.

“The players have to be fitter coupled with aggressiveness and confidence both in attack and defence.”

Knowing the demands of the nation on the performance of our national rugby sevens team, Cawanibuka banks on divine intervention as the source of his strength, as he works on the players to produce the goods.

When asked on whether in future he would want to do something else like coaching and get the recognition he deserves, he said:

“I’m always grateful that I’m part of a small cog in this machinery.”

Cawanibuka prefers to work in the background in developing our national rugby sevens players. But this son of a former national sevens coach is in the frontline when it comes to performance.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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