Opinion

First For Olympics, First For Fiji, First For Rugby

The waiting is over. The moment is upon us and we should be proud as a sporting nation. As the Rio Olympics burst into life with light, colour and the
07 Aug 2016 07:33
First For Olympics, First  For Fiji, First For Rugby
Fireworks explode at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Reuters

The waiting is over.

The moment is upon us and we should be proud as a sporting nation.

As the Rio Olympics burst into life with light, colour and the sound of the Samba beat in a dazzling display at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, the opening ceremony of the 31st Olympiad heralds a significant moment for Fiji.

While prominent nations like USA, Great Britain and Spain are led out by world class and high-profile athletes like Michael Phelps, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, men’s sevens rugby captain Osea Kolinisau stood tall for World Rugby and Fiji when he led Team Fiji out into the arena.

Never before in the history of the Olympic Games has rugby been featured prominently in the opening ceremony and it took a small nation like Fiji to profile rugby as a truly Olympic sport for many more years to come with a rugby player being a flag bearer.

It has been a long journey back to the Games for rugby and it has been seven incredible years since the International Olympic Committee voted the sport back on to the programme in 2009.

Since Fiji first took part in the four-yearly global showpiece at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the Rio Games is of special significance as we stand a better chance of winning the first ever medal for the country.

The World Sevens Series champion for the last two years is our top bet to do the country proud and inspire the next generation.

This is their moment to shine, to enjoy and inspire. Their passion and commitment to reach the pinnacle of their discipline and proudly represent their nation and rugby on sport’s biggest stage will be rewarded.

We are confident that they will deliver as they have done before on the world sevens circuit.

An added advantage that should boost our chance is that not only have they prepared well, we have good leaders in coach Ben Ryan and captain Kolinisau.

Since moving from England in 2013, Ryan has harnessed the passion Fijians have for the game, reinforcing the bonds between the game and the people and lifted the game to another level.

And always there to back him up is his trusted skipper, Kolinisau, who never dreamed of playing in the Olympics since opting out of his university studies to take up rugby as career.

“Never in my wildest dream did I think I will be in the Olympics. Or let alone participate in one or let alone be a gold medal prospect,” Kolinisau said.

“It’s a huge one, coming into the Olympics and being at number one and being a prospect to win the gold medal. I never thought in my wildest dreams that this could happen, let alone be a flag bearer.

“I’m just thankful to God. The Bible verse that comes into my mind is ‘No eyes have seen, no ears have heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ I didn’t see this coming, but it is here right now and I’m getting excited.”

Ryan, Kolinisau and the team have done well so far. They are ready for the big scalp. The best we can do is pray for them to deliver.

 

OSEA BOLA

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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