ROAD TO RIO: Best Rugby Gift For 2016 Is Sharing For The Cause

The New Year is upon us. And what a big year it will be for sports in Fiji as we look forward to winning our first ever medal at the
03 Jan 2016 10:30
ROAD TO RIO:  Best Rugby Gift  For 2016  Is Sharing  For The Cause

The New Year is upon us. And what a big year it will be for sports in Fiji as we look forward to winning our first ever medal at the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

The New Year is more like Christmas without the presents. But it’s important we share and adapt the culture of Christmas to bring us good tidings on the sports field in 2016.

We’ve so much in abundance and so much to share but rather we sit back and cannot provide.

The simple reason is we let others do the job for us.  For so long, like fly-by-night operators, we celebrate when our team wins and criticise them when they lose.

Collectively as part of our New Year resolutions we should willingly front up, share and contribute to make our teams tick on the global stage.

We salute the donors who have been doing it silently for years. They don’t crave for publicity but do it for the love of their country and wanting their fellow Fijians to excel and be the best from the best.

One such group is the Southbay Davui, a non-profit organisation set up by former Fiji residents in California.

The group has been raising funds for the past two years to assist our Vodafone Fijian 7s Road to Rio campaign.

They have already donated game-ready recovery machines for the team.

Last month they also footed the accommodation, travel and meals expenses for two extra players (Nemani Nagusa, Alivereti Veitokani) in the 2015-16 World Sevens Series in Dubai and Cape Town.

Last week a group of rugby volunteers led by Fiji Sports Council chief executive officer Litiana Loabuka, and Cola-Cola Amatil national sales manager Lawrence Tikaram spearheaded the ‘Road to Gold’ fundraising campaign launched by  Fiji Rugby Union president, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

The volunteers, include business executives in their respective fields who are aiming to raise $800,000.

“We’re just a group of individuals who have nothing but national pride to see our 7s men and women on that top podium in Rio.

“This group of individuals has come together with ideas and different initiatives.”

The Government has led the way by providing budgetary allocations for Team Fiji to the Rio Olympics.

But this is not enough as Fijians need to help sports federations fundraise and ease the load on athletes.

We’ve excelled in the world stage in the past.

 Vijay Singh is a former No.1 golfer in the world;

 Our 7s team has won the Melrose Cup – the World Cup of Sevens – twice (1997, 2005);

 We won the World Sevens Series twice since it started in 1999;

 Waisale Serevi has been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

 Paralympian Iliesa Delana winning gold at the 2012 London Olympics

But winning the gold in Rio will be the icing on top of all our successes on the sports field.

Legendary 7s coach Sir Gordon Tietjens says there’s nothing compared to winning gold at the Commonwealth Games.

But the Olympics are a global showpiece where you train athletes into Olympians. Tietjens knows how to grill that element of hardness in players to perform. We leave that to coaches Ben Ryan, Chris Cracknell, Frank Farina and Vijay Singh as it’s their domain.

Fans need to help by contributing to make it happen. Sharing is all we really need to do.

Osea Bola



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