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Farewell, Lemeki Koroi

Hundreds gathered at the Centenary Methodist Church in Suva yesterday to farewell former national rugby rep Lemeki Koroi. Koroi died last Thursday at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva
17 Sep 2020 13:29
Farewell, Lemeki Koroi
Fiji Corrections Service officers carry the casket of the former national rugby representative, Lemeki Koroi, during the funeral service at Centenary Methodist Church, Suva on September 16, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Hundreds gathered at the Centenary Methodist Church in Suva yesterday to farewell former national rugby rep Lemeki Koroi.

Koroi died last Thursday at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva after a short illness.

At the time of his death, he was serving as a Principal Corrections Officer at the Fiji Corrections Service at Naboro.

He was remembered by many as a cheerful and a hardworking gentleman.

Koroi was from Serea, Waimaro, Naitasiri.

Fiji Corrections Service

Workmate and former national rep, Sailosi Naiteqe delivered an emotional eulogy on behalf of the Fiji Corrections Service.

“Koroi was not only my workmate, an older brother and most of all a close friend and family,”he said.

“His passing was not an easy one to accept, he was a gentleman, was always happy and had a cheerful spirit.

“All who knew him, know his gentle behavior and his sense of humour.”

Fiji Correction servicers, COC Serewaia Meli with photo of  late Principal Corrections officer and former National 7's palyer during the funeral service at Centenary Methodist Church on September 16, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Fiji Correction servicers, COC Serewaia Meli with photo of late Principal Corrections officer and former National 7’s palyer during the funeral service at Centenary Methodist Church on September 16, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Family and Vanua

“He was a hardworking, family man.”

Those were the words shared by his cousin, Taito Rokobiau.

Rokobiau said his late cousin was the first from their village to be a prison officer and that was all because of his hard work.

“For many of us who were from the Highlands, jobs did not matter much, but to have one is a testimony of perseverance and hard work. Lemeki was one of those,” Rokobiau shared.

“He knew the importance of having a family and that motivated him to work hard.”

Fiji Correction servicers officers carry the casket of their late Principal Corrections officer and former National 7's player, Lemeki Koroi during the funeral service at Centenary Methodist Church on September 16, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Fiji Correction servicers officers carry the casket of their late Principal Corrections officer and former National 7’s player, Lemeki Koroi during the funeral service at Centenary Methodist Church on September 16, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Fiji Rugby Union

Koroi was a member of the national sevens team that won the 1997 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong.

He scored twice in the 24-21 win against South Africa in the final as the Fijians claimed the Melrose Cup (world sevens title) for the first time.

He represented Fiji from 1992 to 1998, in rugby 7s and 15s.

“He was one of the greats on the field during our time,” Fiji Rugby Union operations manager, Sale Sorovaki said.

“He was a crucial member of the team that brought Fiji’s first ever Melrose Cup victory.

“There are many stories about him, his cheerfulness and always happy around everyone.”

FRU CEO, John O'Connor during funeral service of Fiji Correction servicers Principal Corrections officer and former National 7's player, Lemeki Koroi at Centenary Methodist Church on September 16, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

FRU CEO, John O’Connor during funeral service of Fiji Correction servicers Principal Corrections officer and former National 7’s player, Lemeki Koroi at Centenary Methodist Church on September 16, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Sorovaki shared one of his best memory of him was a game between Fiji and the Wallabies during the 1999 RWC qualification. They exchanged positions minutes before the game (second and centre), with their names printed on the jersey.

Sorovaki scored a try wearing Koroi’s jersey with his name printed on it and that try was recorded under Koroi’s name.

“It’s one of the many stories we often joked about,”Sorovaki said.

Koroi was survived by wife, Elesi Adiramusu Koroi and daughters Miliana and Mereoni Koroi.

He was laid to rest at the Nasinu Cemetery.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj

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