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Rio Olympics, SPORTS

Cracknell Shares His Experience

Cracknell Shares His Experience
TEAM FIJI RUGBY SEVENS CREW: (From Left) Naca Cawanibuka (men’s conditioning coach), Chris Cracknell (men’s skills coach and women’s head coach), Ben Ryan (men’s head coach), Osea Kolinisau (men’s captain) and Matt Dooley (women’s conditioning coach) at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Maidenhead Advertiser.
August 20
11:24 2016

Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens skills coach and women’s head coach Chris Cracknell spoke to GRAEME COPAS of Maidenhead Advertiser about his work with the Rio 2016 gold medal winning rugby sevens team.


Q: The Fiji men’s team won gold, what does that mean to you, the players and the country?

Cracknell: It’s everything to the country, giving the people hope and inspiration. For the boys it will change their lives. As for me, I’m glad that I played my part and that we got everything right to get the boys and the country what they deserved– a gold.


Q: What makes Fiji so great at sevens?

Cracknell: It’s the national sport there, it’s played every day and what every young kid aspires to do. My drive home from Suva to Pacific Harbour will take me past 40-50 games of touch rugby, on sand banks, roads, fields or wherever they can play. All shapes, sizes and ages using whatever they have for a ball. Coupled with an amazing resilience and phenomenal genetics, it really is a breeding ground for attacking rugby.


Q: What reception are you expecting back in Fiji?

Cracknell: We land on the (August) 21st and the Prime Minister has ordered a public holiday. So far we have two public engagements, but I’m sure, for the boys, it will go on for quite some time!


Q: How has Rio 2016 been as an experience?

Cracknell: Amazing, I was lucky to go to a Commonwealth Game and this has been like that only with bigger stars and so much more going on, it’s been an incredible few weeks and mostly it’s so great to see how rugby was welcomed and the show that rugby put on and the way everyone has reacted to it is going to change the sport dramatically!


Q: I see you watched Usain Bolt in action– could he make a good sevens player?

Cracknell: It would be amazing to see him try. I firmly believe post this Olympics we will see sports transitions and netball, volleyball, 400m and 800m athletes being a prime target for rugby sevens.


Q: What’s next for you?

Cracknell: I’m unsure yet, I’m heading back to the UK to assess my options. I personally want to take the next step and be a head of a programme.

I will undoubtedly pop down to Braywick to watch Maidenhead RFC and possibly my old school Shiplake College, to say thank you to those that have helped me get to where I am.

But most importantly I’m looking forward to seeing my family (who live in Maidenhead) and girlfriend who I’ve not yet had chance to celebrate with.




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