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Gold Medal Comes With Responsibility: Ryan

Gold Medal Comes With Responsibility: Ryan
Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens head coach Ben Ryan traditionally acknowledged the honour of being awarded the Honorary Companion of the Order of Fiji from President Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote. Photos: Vilimoni Vaganalau.
August 23
14:54 2016

Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens head coach Ben Ryan was awarded the highest category in the country’s system of honours.

He received the insignia for the Honorary Companion of the Order of Fiji from President Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote at the ANZ Stadium, Suva yesterday.

The Companion of the Order of Fiji is made for the eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree for service to Fiji or to humanity at large.

Ryan, who was overcome with emotions, told what it meant to receive an Olympic gold medal during his speech at the celebration.

“When you have an Olympic gold medal put across you, it isn’t just a one off thing; it is a responsibility and we went to Rio with no gold medals on this island, we now have 12,” he said.

“With 12 comes 12 role models, 12 people that can help set a legacy, 12 people that can help to inspire the youths of Fiji, 12 people that can tell you all that anything is possible with hard work.

“The boys here have a real chance to do all those things and have that gold medal, that responsibility that’s been given to them to add value, to inspire not just in sport but in every area of life where Fijians can stand tall.”

Ryan said the 12 men who ran out onto the field at Deodoro Stadium in Brazil representing the whole country and could not have achieved what they did without the help and support of former sevens reps and current reps who did not make the final cut.

“There are a few reasons as to why we did well, the first thing when we came last night driving in the bus from Nausori Airport; I saw some of the old Fijian internationals on the side of the road,” he said.

“I saw Nasoni Roko cheering with his family as we went past in the bus and it reminded me of one of the reasons we got gold. It wasn’t the 12 it was all the boys who were training with us as well in the last seven weeks. I saw Eminoni Nasilasila in the stands here. I hope Isake Katonibau is in the stands and Pio Tuwai, Sevuloni Moceinacagi, Alifereti Veitokani, Josua Vici, Emosi Mulevoro, Nemani Nagusa and Jarryd Hayne.

“If it wasn’t for those players we wouldn’t have won the gold medal because the 17 matches we had at Uprising Beach Resort where we went bone on bone full on was harder than any Olympic game we played.”

Ryan also spoke on the Fiji women’s rugby sevens team that finished eighth at the Rio Olympics. He said the team have set the standard for future female rugby players to step up ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“The Fijiana have worked incredibly hard the last few months.

“They set the standard for women in sports in Fiji, our netballers have always been outstanding and now we have a Fiji women’s team.

“I got phone calls from mothers of young children in Fiji that asked where they could join and when could they start to learn to play rugby sevens. There is a new generation coming and 2020 Olympics might be the story of the Fijiana,” he added.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua




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