August 14, 2016 8:50 am

Olympic gold medal win was not an easy one

The struggles of the victorious National 7s team was used as a means of motivating twenty-four youths who graduated from the “Seeds of Success” program an initiative between the Fiji Police Force and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. In closing the weeklong workshop in Valelevu yesterday, Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Laisenia Tuitubou […]

The struggles of the victorious National 7s team was used as a means of motivating twenty-four youths who graduated from the “Seeds of Success” program an initiative between the Fiji Police Force and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou. (Fiji Police)
Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Laisenia Tuitubou. (Fiji Police)

In closing the weeklong workshop in Valelevu yesterday, Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Laisenia Tuitubou said the road to Rio for Fiji’s first ever Olympic gold medal winning team was not an easy one.

TUITUBOU: “Twenty one months ago when I was part of the selection panel looking for our next national 7s coach, we had two candidates one of which is our current coach Mr Ben Ryan. When the initial candidate was chosen we could not secure him because at that time the Fiji Rugby Union was facing some financial issues so we had no choice but to let him go.”

Minister Tuitubou reminisced how Ben Ryan was interested in taking up this vital role.

TUITUBOU: “So we then approached Mr Ryan and asked if he was interested in taking up the role and informed him however that we wouldn’t be able to pay him for four months. He returned later and accepted saying he would need our commitment in seeing through the vision he had for our national side.”

He said the Olympic Gold secured by national side is a testament of what hard work and dedication can achieve, and challenged the graduates to learn from Ryan’s story.

TUITUBOU: “When we told him that we could not pay him up front for at least four months, he accepted that and said he was also fulfilling his personal dream. He said as England’s coach, he was fortunate to coach one Fijian player, but his ultimate goal and wish had always been to coach 12 Fijians and be Fiji’s 7s coach.”

Participants during the graduation in Valelevu yesterday. (Fiji Police)
Participants during the graduation in Valelevu yesterday. (Fiji Police)

“The road to Rio hasn’t been easy, and as Mr Ryan initially stated when taking up the coaching position, he would have to change the mindset and attitude of the players if we were to see a new look 7s side.”

He added the challenges faced by the 7s team is no different to what some of the graduates had faced in their young lives.

TUITUBOU: “Make sure to put what you have learned this past week to good use. Change your mindset and attitude and ensure you are able to achieve your goal of securing a job and I know some of you have plans to start your own business and just like our 7s team with the guidance of Mr Ryan, having a more disciplined life and doing the right things at the right time will have help you achieve your goal.”

Samabula District Community Policing Coordinator Inspector Pio Sovalevu said that the youths between the ages of eighteen [18] to twenty six [26] were chosen from Jittu Estate and Muanivatu settlement.

Following this workshop, the Ministry has indicated its willingness to assist graduates attain further education with various technical institutions as well as working with the National Employment Centre to secure employment.

The Minister also thanked the Fiji Police Force for helping up skill youths so they could avoid being caught on the wrong side of the law.

Youths from the Tamavua-i-Wai and Wailoku areas will be part of the next training scheduled in two weeks time.