Ratuva’s Golden Adventure

FLASHBACK:Fijians here and around the globe are still celebrating our first gold medal win in this year’s Rio Olympics, four months down the lane. And as we bid farewell to
31 Dec 2016 15:59
Ratuva’s Golden Adventure
Fiji Sun deputy Sports Editor, Anasilini Ratuva (centre) is flanked by Vodafone Fijian 7s reps, Masivesi Dakuwaqa (left and Josua Tuisova after the finals in Rio.

FLASHBACK:Fijians here and around the globe are still celebrating our first gold medal win in this year’s Rio Olympics, four months down the lane.

And as we bid farewell to 2016 today, the ‘gold medal win’ is still the talk of the town, on the streets, in our homes, around the tanoa or carton of beer.

But being with the winning team all the way to their journey to triumph in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, is another story to tell.

Witnessing that historic win on the night of August 12, at Deodoro Stadium, was definitely an emotional moment for all Fijians and fans that were present, a story to tell our future generation.

The win was a golden memory for me covering and reporting on the game. My first Olympic encounter was an honour and a very humbling experience.

When we touched down in Rio on the first day, the first challenge I experienced was the language.

The official language is Portuguese for Brazilians, so language was indeed a barrier.

I had to use my phone to translate English into Portuguese, so that I could communicate with the locals and of course with the assistance of the Global Positioning System (GPS), I didn’t get lost.

Getting used to the geographical locations was one of the biggest challenges, travelling from my IBIS Budget Hotel in Botafogo to the rugby venue at Deodoro.

It usually took me three hours travelling one way from my hotel to get to the Olympic Games Village.

In total around six to seven hours of travelling, so you can imagine how tired I was during my short stay in Rio.

For example, if I had to go to three game venues on the same day, then my travelling hours would be around nine.

Sometimes I get back to my hotel around 12midnight or 1am which is 3pm (Fiji Time) from the Olympic Games Village, than I start to file my reports for the newspaper.

Most of the nights when I am in the middle of filing my reports, I would look out the window from my hotel room, only to be greeted with the sunrise at 6am.

With just an hour’s nap, a quick breakfast and then straight to the bus to get to the Olympic Games Village in time was usually the order of my daily routine in Rio.

I was also blessed to be accommodated in a hotel by the Christ the Redeemer statue the famous Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot.

On the night of Fiji’s quarterfinal match against New Zealand when Fiji beat NZ 12-7, when I returned to the hotel to file my story, there was no internet connection.

I waited for almost two hours, there was still nothing.

I then went to the bus stop and fortunately, an Olympic Media bus which had WIFI on was parked there.

Without turning back, I quickly jumped into the bus and told the driver that I would be going for a bus ride with him, just so I could file and send stories to Fiji.

On the night of the final after Fiji’s win, I only wished that I could celebrate with other crazy Fijians and fans over a few glasses of wine or kava, but it was work first, filing reports till sunrise.

As the saying goes the struggle is real – for me than, the struggle was indeed very real.

Being the lone journalist from the Fiji Sun, in a big world, attending a large tournament, working on my own was tough.

Making sure that our readers back at home got the best Rio Olympics coverage from our newspaper was my aim.

So I had to plan my time well and prioritise what mattered.

A big Vinaka-vakalevu to my friend, Bruce Southwick from Zoom Fiji, our official photographer for the tournament who helped me file stories and supply top quality pictures.

The story of the 2016 Rio Olympics will be forever cherished in our hearts and a story to tell our children.

Wish you all a Happy New Year and God Bless Fiji!

As they say in Rio ‘Tchau’ (Goodbye).


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