SPORTS

Rugby Inductees

It was a dream come true for Nadi prop Venioni Toga who was among 29 players inducted into the Elite Player Pathway Academy at the Grand Pacific Hotel yesterday. The
12 Dec 2015 11:59
Rugby Inductees
The participants with chief guest Litiana Loabuka (middle) during the Elite Player Pathway Acedamy launch at GPH by Fiji Rugby Union yesterday.

It was a dream come true for Nadi prop Venioni Toga who was among 29 players inducted into the Elite Player Pathway Academy at the Grand Pacific Hotel yesterday.

The 21-year-old, who hails from Saunaka Village in Nadi, is a farmer and lost his dad to diabetes when he was 10 years old and his mum to breast cancer a year later.

Being the only one selected from Nadi, Toga said this was a once-in-in-a lifetime opportunity.

“I feel so grateful, blessed that out of everyone who plays in Nadi, I was chosen to be part of the 29 players to be inducted into the academy,” Toga said.

“I really want to thank the Lord and my parents would have been proud of me.”

Toga aims to play for the Vodafone Flying Fijians at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“I can see now how rugby is changing, there are proper programmes put in place now which aims to not only train us but educate us on how to look after ourselves,” he said.

“So to be part of this academy and learn more about rugby is an amazing opportunity especially because I’ve set a goal to represent Fiji at the next 2019 RWC.

“I believe this is my chance to learn and I know it won’t be easy but I am willing to put in the hard yards in order to fulfil my ultimate dream.”

Meanwhile, another player who is looking ahead to make it into the national team is Miriama Naiyobasali who is focused on getting into the Telecom Fijiana.

The 19-year-old from Viseisei Village in Vuda was the captain for the Jasper Williams High School rugby team and is the relative of former national reps Taniela Rawaqa and Ifereimi Rawaqa.

Naiyobasali said being part of the academy has broadened her knowledge on rugby which she believes will help her in achieving her dream of representing her country.

“I am so honoured to be a part of this academy as it is a good experience and a huge learning curve for me,” she said.

“I only knew how to play rugby but I did not know all the things associated with it like our health, how to manage our money, anti-doping, all these things that come with being a rugby player and making it to the top.

“One of my goals that I plan on working towards is joining the Telecom Fijiana and wearing that white jersey travelling around the world playing a sport that I love and I cannot wait to get started.”



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