SPORTS

Derenalagi Fends Off Any Talk About Overseas Contracts, Sets Focus On Tokyo Olympics

Arriving at Nadi International Airport yesterday, Derenalagi said, he has set his sight on next month’s Pacific Games in Samoa and the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo, Japan.
06 Jun 2019 15:21
Derenalagi Fends Off Any Talk About Overseas Contracts,  Sets Focus On Tokyo Olympics
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forward Meli Derenalagi is wrapped in masi as they arrive at Nadi International Airport on June 5, 2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

World Rugby Rookie of the Year Meli Derenalagi is not interested in taking up any overseas contract as yet.

Arriving at Nadi International Airport yesterday, Derenalagi said, he has set his sight on next month’s Pacific Games in Samoa and the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“My plan is to get into the Olympic team next year and defend the gold medal,” he told SUNsports.

“It was a good experience to move from fifteens to sevens rugby.

“It was a bit hard but the boys motivated me to do great things.

“It’s a good year for me and the team. Never dreamt to win the award because it was a challenge for me being nominated along with two team-mates (Vilimoni) Botitu and (Aminiasi) Tuimaba.

“It was surprising when my name was called out. It was an emotional moment.

“The senior players set good examples showing us what to do both on and off the field. Jerry (Tuwai) was very motivational.”

FOCUS ON OLYMPICS:

Captain Paula Dranisnukula said they’ve turned their focus to the Olympic Games.

“So, we’ll wait for management to work out a plan for us. It will be a tough battle to fight for a spot in the team for the next series because we also have the Olympics.

“Some other big names especially those playing overseas will be knocking on the selection door as well.”

He was overwhelmed with the standing ovation given to team at Nadi International Airport and later at the chiefly village of Nawaka.

“The important thing is that the whole of Fiji is happy. We are happy that the fans enjoyed watching our rugby in the last two weekends.

“For the fans I would like to thank them for their support, prayers and well-wishers. It helps a lot and boosted the morale of the players.

“We’ve been together as a team since the beginning of the year. It’s young team so it is easy to handle them.

“They are well-behaved and most of them come from the disciplinary forces so it was easy to manage them.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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