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Fijians Making Impact In Australia, Says Australian High Commissioner

Feakes believes the “exceptional, talent, grit and flair” of Fijian athletes made them popular with Australian teams, and was the reason they thrived on the world stage.
13 Oct 2019 08:31
Fijians Making Impact In Australia, Says Australian High Commissioner
Australian High Commissioner John Feakes at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva on October 9, 2019. Photo: Australian High Commission

Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes has hailed the impact Fijian athletes have had on sports in Australia, saying they had captivated fans for decades.

Feakes believes the “exceptional, talent, grit and flair” of Fijian athletes made them popular with Australian teams, and was the reason they thrived on the world stage.

He made the comment during a reception hosted for the Fiji and Australia Prime Minister’s XIII men’s and women’s rugby league teams at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel on Wednesday night.

The teams met on Friday at the ANZ Stadium for what was expected to be a pulsating day of competitive rugby league action in Suva.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, his Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne attended the match.

Morrison’s team played in Fiji for the first time as part of Australia and the Fiji National Rugby League’s efforts to promote the sport here.

Feakes said: “We know the impact that Fijians have made in Australia on all of our sporting codes. Our clubs and national sides are stacked with Fijian talent.

“Since I arrived in Fiji, I have been struck by the immense pride Fijians have in their athletes. It is a national obsession. And Fiji delivers on the obsession.”

Fijian athletes have a long history of playing for Australian teams.

One example is the four Fijians playing for the Australia Wallabies rugby team, namely Samu Kerevi, Isi Naisarani, Marika Koroibete and Tevita Kuridrani.

Feakes said holding the PM’s XIII match in Fiji was an opportunity to “give back to a country that has given so much” to Australian sport.

“For a country with less than one million people, Fijians enjoy an outsized reputation as athletes of exceptional talent, grit and flair,” he added.

“In the NRL, the Fijians definitively punch above their weight. That is why I want to thank the NRL for moving the PM’s XIII to Suva for the first time.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj




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