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Ryan Warns

Olympic gold medal winning coach believes the Tokyo Games will be tougher as teams have learnt from their mistakes in 2016.
05 Jun 2020 10:36
Ryan Warns
Ben Ryan.

The man, who guided Fiji to win the rugby sevens men’s gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, believes, things are going to be much tougher at next year’s Tokyo Games.

Ben Ryan revealed this in a recent podcast interview with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“To be honest Fiji was above everyone in the last Olympic Games,” Ryan said.

“I was coaching them but on the flip side it was every nation’s first Olympic cycle. You can see going into the Olympics some teams got their programmes wrong and didn’t get the right amount of game time before the games.

“So they overcooked their players and they put their players in the Games Village for too long. They rested players long before the Olympics and selected the wrong players. They panicked on the composition of their teams. I think half of those teams underperformed in the Rio Olympics.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Olympic Games is now moved to July 23 to August 8, next year

Ryan said things were going to be different at the Olympics.

“One cycle and so many teams are used to that. Now they have learned their lessons so that means there is going to be a lot of very, very tight games in the Olympics and over those three days that momentum can build very quickly,” he said.

Ryan indicated that the Fijians are still the favourites but rivals New Zealand won’t be far off despite their poor performance in 2016.

“South Africa are up in their game again. Great Britain have that whole team that they could link in and then the wild cards like the French federation are doing well. Australia has been reaching semi-finals and what USA are doing at the moment is just fantastic.”

Ryan said Fiji is really a tiny contender and that’s what the Olympics wanted.

“They wanted these new sports to come in and provide podiums to athletes that don’t normally win Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals. So when you talk about the Samoans, Fijians and New Zealanders they are not on top of the table as far as those Olympic charts are concerned,” he said.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj

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