SPORTS

‘Riwai Brings Joy’

The family is getting so much attention and respect because of my hardworking daughter-Maika Riwai.
09 Aug 2021 11:00
‘Riwai Brings Joy’
Viniana Riwai (left) and Lavenia Tinai display their bronze medals at the Tokyo Olympics on July 31, 2021. Photo: World Rugby

Viniana Riwai brought joy to the people of Nasekula, Labasa.

And her 54-year old father said her daughter’s achievement on the biggest sporting stage had gifted their family like never before.

Maika Riwai said Team Fiji Fijiana winning bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics created a unique piece of history for their family.

“The family will never forget July 30 when my eldest daughter joined an elite group of 13 female players winning bronze at the Tokyo Olympic Games,” he said.

From left: Viniana Riwai’s (mother) Marisela Riwai, (nephew) Carlson Riwai, (brother) Mitieli Riwai, (nieces) Abigail and Milika Riwai, Maika Riwai (father), Mosese Riwai (nephew) and Kereleani Riwai (sister) at their home in Nasekula village, Labasa on August 6, 2021. Photo: Sampras Anand

From left: Viniana Riwai’s (mother) Marisela Riwai, (nephew) Carlson Riwai, (brother) Mitieli Riwai, (nieces) Abigail and Milika Riwai, Maika Riwai (father), Mosese Riwai (nephew) and Kereleani Riwai (sister) at their home in Nasekula village, Labasa on August 6, 2021. Photo: Sampras Anand

He said the accomplishment was not an easy feat as she had to put in the hard yards in training, sacrifice and balanced her personal life and family time with her rugby commitments.

The father-of-four said now he received regular calls from relatives and friends congratulating Vini and their family on the success.

“The family is getting so much attention and respect because of my hardworking daughter,” he said.

He hopes the win would encourage fathers to support their daughters in their sporting careers.

“The win was also possible through the hard work put in by the Fiji Rugby Union and its officials in moulding the team to achieve the impossible,” he added.

Early life

Born on June 6, 1991, she attended Labasa Sangam Primary School in 1998-2005.

She later moved to Labasa Muslim College from Year 9-11, Suva Sangam College in 2009 after Fiji Football Association spotted her as a capable national rep.

Life in Suva

The 30-year-old adjusted to life in Suva and stayed with a netball fanatic Wainiqolo family at Koronivia,Nausori.

She was introduced to the family after becoming friends with one of the daughters of the family.

Maika understands that her staying away from home would be good for her.

During her time in Suva, Viniana juggled between rugby and football.

She made her debut for the Fiji women’s national rugby sevens team at the 2013 China leg of the Women Sevens Series, after which she forced herself to make the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens squad in Russia.

Previous performances

Viniana took part in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games where they lost to Great Britain in the quarterfinal to finish 8th overall.

In 2018, she represented the Fiji women’s senior football team to the Oceania Nations Cup in New Caledonia, which also acted as an Olympic qualifying event.

The side performed well but eventually lost out to New Zealand 8-0 in the qualifying final.

Next Step

Her father said his daughter aims to play at the 2022 World Cup in New Zealand from October 8 to November 12.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sampras.anand@fijisun.fj



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