HSBC Sevens Series | SPORTS

Vuiviwa Naduvalo: My Why?

His mom died when he was in pre-school. He was raised by his dad, two brothers, sister and close relations who took to cutting sugarcane to support his education. This was the humble beginning of rising Fiji Airways Fijian 7s winger, Vuiviwa Naduvaco.
12 Apr 2022 12:00
Vuiviwa Naduvalo: My Why?
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s rising winger Vuiviwa Naduvaco dives over to score one of his two tries against New Zealand in the Cup final of the Singapore 7s on April 10, 2022. Fiji won 28-17. Photo: Roslan Rahman / AFP

His mom died when he was in pre-school.

He was raised by his dad, two brothers, sister and close relations who took to cutting sugarcane to support his education.

This was the humble beginning of rising Fiji Airways Fijian 7s winger, Vuiviwa Naduvalo.

The thoughts of their struggles came flooding back when the national anthem sounded before the Cup final of the Singapore 7s on Sunday night.

 

Naduvalo could not hold back his tears and that inspired him to score two tries in their 2817 win over New Zealand and later got him the Player of the Final award.

“I am so happy, it has taken a lot of sacrifice for me to get this far and that is why I was so emotional during our national anthem.”

“This victory is for my family, they are my ‘why’, they drive me on and I want to make them proud,” Naduvalo said after receiving his award.

Playing in his debut tournament, the Suva-based firefighter, who plays for Fire, scored 10 tries in the Singapore tournament enabling him to equal the record set by Filimoni Bolavucu.

 

From left: Taniela Valailagi with his father, Tevita Raunacalevu, and cousin Daniva Amitai at their home in Semo Village, Sigatoka, on April 11, 2022. Photo: Mereleki Nai

From left: Taniela Valailagi with his father, Tevita Raunacalevu, and cousin Daniva Amitai at their home in Semo Village, Sigatoka, on April 11, 2022. Photo: Mereleki Nai

From The Family
His dad, Tevita Raunacalevu, told SUNsports yesterday that what his son went through in life was in a way prepared him to achieve greater things.

The 24-year-old winger hails from Semo Village in Nadroga.

Naduvaco’s older brother, Taniela Valailagi, said he was least surprised about his youngest brother’s achievement because of the kind of life he lived.

 

“My brother is a humble and obedient person.”

“He attends the Seventh-day Adventist church and that is why he doesn’t drink alcohol, kava or smoke.”

“I was not surprised when he reached this far in his rugby career.”

 

Valailagi indicated that what his brother said about their family struggle after the Cup final was true.

“He (Naduvalo) was five and in pre-school when our mother died.”

“He was brought up by my father.”

 

“My uncle and his wife also helped.”

“It was a tough upbringing because we all struggled to put him to school since he was the youngest.”

“We all worked on the farm.”

 

“We cut sugarcane in order to support his education.”

Naduvalo knew the struggles we went through.”

Valailagi said when things got tough he once asked Naduvalo to take a one-year break from school to help them harvest cane.

 

“He listened and the following year we enrolled him at Nilsen College in Vatukoula where he did his Year 13,” he added.

Naduvalo had attended Ratu Ilaisa Memorial School and then Arya College for secondary school.

“Growing up, my little brother loved to play rugby, soccer and volleyball,” Valailagi said.

 

“My brother was named Viuviwa and that is very significant to us because it reminded us about our elders who came from Viwa in Yasawa and settled in the vanua of Semo.”

Raunacalevu, who is the head of the Yavusa Mataviavia of the vanua of Semo said, his son is the traditional Bati (warrior) of the Turaga Na Kalevu of the vanua of Nakuruvarua in Nadroga.

“I’m proud of my son.”

“Before he went to Singapore, his uncle reminded him that he needs to score as many tries as he can.”

 

“And when he does that, he is doing it for his country and his family.”

“He works according to what we tell him to do.”

“I believe God’s hand was upon him and that has taken him to where he is today,” he added.

 

Feedback: mereleki.nai@fijisun.com.fj



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