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Rio Olympics, SPORTS

All Things Are Possible

All Things Are Possible
Fiji 7s team celebration. Photo: PAULINI RATULAILAI.
August 23
14:48 2016

Fijians turned up by their thousands at the ANZ Stadium, Suva to celebrate with our gold medal Olympians yesterday.

Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens coach Ben Ryan and 11 of the 13 who played in Rio clearly looked tired after the long-haul flight the previous day followed by celebrations in Nadi.

In Suva, the celebrations did not just start yesterday– in fact it started on Sunday night when the side landed at the Nausori International Airport bound for the Grand Pacific Hotel. It took them three hours to reach the hotel.

The same happened yesterday when the boys paraded through the streets of Suva. It was a sea of blue, blue and more blue from the Flea Market to the ANZ Stadium. Ardent fans walked the entire distance- probably for the first time.

At the ANZ Stadium more fans waited in anticipation to meet or just get a glimpse of their heroes. Even before they arrived, children were announced to be missing. The number increased when the celebration was over.

As the rugby sevens gold medalists walked out of the tunnel one by one, the ANZ Stadium erupted– a standing ovation for Ben and his boys.

During the traditional ceremonies of welcome performed by the Vanua o Rara-Nakelo, Ryan was given the name Tu Rai – meaning when we look to you, you look to us.

In addition to the gold medal won in Rio, Fijian President Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote awarded the team with the medals in the Order of Fiji.

Ryan was awarded the highest category in Fiji’s system of honours – Companion of the Order of Fiji. This is the highest award given one to a non-Fijian.

Like August 12, yesterday was a day that will be entrenched in the memories of Fijians here and abroad.  It certainly was an inspirational day – when we are reminded that nothing is impossible.

 Edited by Leone Cabenatabua



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