Suva

7s team honoured with medals and $30k each at a packed ANZ stadium

The rain was not a deterrence nor hindered the plans of thousands of women, men and children who packed the ANZ stadium in a sea of blue to get a glimpse of our victorious Olympians today. The electric atmosphere coupled with entertainment such as meke, hula and singing by the members of the Fiji Corrections […]

Serelisoni Moceica

August 22, 2016 4:49 pm

The rain was not a deterrence nor hindered the plans of thousands of women, men and children who packed the ANZ stadium in a sea of blue to get a glimpse of our victorious Olympians today.

The sevens team with the President and the First Lady at the ANZ Stadium. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)
The sevens team with the President and the First Lady at the ANZ Stadium. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)

The electric atmosphere coupled with entertainment such as meke, hula and singing by the members of the Fiji Corrections band kept the crowd on its feet with husband and wife team, Mervin and Michelle Singh as Master and Mistress of Ceremony for the day.

The President, Jioji Konrote officially welcomed the boys home who were the chief guests for the day and said the sevens team homecoming was a blessing to the nation.

KONROTE: And this time we have been showered with Gold as our Rugby Sevens team brings home the first medals that Fiji has ever won at a summer Olympics. To Coach Ben, Team Captain Osea, the rest of the players and all those who have been part of this magnificent effort, I want to say this to you on the nation’s behalf.”

Part of the crowd that were at the ANZ Stadium for the 7s team celebrations. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)
Part of the crowd that were at the ANZ Stadium for the 7s team celebrations. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)

KONROTE: “You have made us all more proud than we can say. Proud of your achievement and proud to be Fijians. You have embodied the Fijian spirit of determination and perseverance. You have thrilled us with an astonishing display of your skills on the field. You have brought us together to join with one voice in saying Go Fiji, Go! “

The President then presumed to award medals of honour to the boys and their coach, Ben Ryan who was awarded the highest category in our system of honours – the Companion of the Order of Fiji.

They were also given $30,000 each.

Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan receives his Companion of the Order of Fiji medal from the President Jioji Konrote. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)
Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan receives his Companion of the Order of Fiji medal from the President Jioji Konrote. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)

Team Trainer Nacanieli Cawanibuka and Team Physio William Koong also received $30,000 each with the Officer of the Order of Fiji medal.

Semi Kunatani, Leone Nakarawa and Team Manager Ropate Kauvesi were not present to receive their medals and the cash prizes, they will arrive later this week.

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama was also thankful to the boys for the gold adding that it encouraged every Fijian to work together to fulfil our destiny.

BAINIMARAMA: “This Gold medal win in Rio has given us all the incentive to try even harder to build the new Fiji. It has fired the imagination of every Fijian about what is possible with teamwork. That’s what Osea and the boys did on that brilliant Friday – inspired us to be a better nation. Just as they were inspired to become better players under the leadership of Ben Ryan.”

He said the country should act as a beacon for the rest of the Pacific and thanked Ben and the boys for confirming that it was possible for a small nation that focuses on achieving greatness.

The crowd congratulates Apisai Domolailai as the team takes a final lap around the ANZ stadium tracks. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)
The crowd congratulates Apisai Domolailai as the team takes a final lap around the ANZ stadium tracks. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)

Coach Ben Ryan said when one is given awarded an Olympic Gold medal it is not just a one-off thing but it is a responsibility.

RYAN: “We went to Rio with no Gold medals on this island, but now we have twelve. With twelve comes twelve role-models, twelve people that can help make a legacy, twelve people that can help inspire the youth of Fiji twelve people that can tell you all things are possible with hardwork and with teamwork. The boys here have that chance, that responsiblity that’s been given to them to add value to inspire not just in sport but in every area in Life where Fijians can stand tall.”

Coach Ben Ryan while speaking at the 7s celebrations in Suva. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)
Coach Ben Ryan while speaking at the 7s celebrations in Suva. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)

RYAN: “A small island can do great things!”

The coach and the boys then had to be escorted through the crowd as people grabbed them to congratulate them and take pictures left right and centre during the boys’ final lap around the tracks.

The crowd congratulated and took a selfie with Ben Ryan. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)
The crowd congratulated and took a selfie with Ben Ryan. (Serelisoni Moceica/Newswire)

The ANZ Stadium was a sea of blue as thousands turned up with Fiji flags for the homecoming celebration to celebrate the Fiji Sevens team’s Gold Medal win.

Fijian fans march along with the 7s team from the Suva Flea Market this morning. (Jese Tuisinu)
Fijian fans marching with the 7s team from the Suva Flea Market this morning. (Jese Tuisinu)

People gathered in numbers at the Flea Market to march with the Fiji 7s team to the ANZ Stadium.

Savenaca Rawaca also joined the winning 7s team on the victory truck for the Olympic Gold Medal Celebrations this morning.

The team will leave in the victory truck in a convoy with a band accompanying them to the stadium.

The Fiji 7s team are expected to arrive at the ANZ Stadium at around 10.50am.

The programme for today is as follows:

  • The team leaves the GPH in a convoy and a march will be held from the Flea Market through Victoria Parade, Thurston Street, McGregor Road, Bau Street and Laucala Bay Road until it reaches the stadium.
  • The boys will then presume to walk around the track accompanied by the RFMF band, They will then join the President Jioji Konrote with the First Lady on stage where a thanksgiving service will be held.
  • A traditional welcoming ceremony will then be performed by the Vanua-o-Rara of Nakelo.
  • The PM is then expected to deliver a speech and time will also be given to coach Ben Ryan and captain Osea Kolinisau.
  • The sevens team players will be garlanded by the winning Ballantine Memorial Rugby girls team and the President will honour them with medals.
  • The President will be presenting to them the various medals and that will be given by the state in recognition of the superb performance of the Coach Ben Ryan and of course the winning team.

Meanwhile, the Fiji men’s sevens team will receive $510,000 from the Fijian Government during the celebrations.

Each player including the four officials would each get $30,000 for their personal use.

Family members, along with wives will be given special seating at the celebrations and members of the public are encouraged to line up on the roads along the routes to show their appreciation for our Olympians.

Click here to view the program.

FREE TRANSPORTATION TO THE ANZ STADIUM

The Fijian Government has organised free bus shuttles to the ANZ Stadium for the Special Fiji 7s team gold medal win at the Rio Olympics.

In a press conference last week, The Acting Prime Minister Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said talks were also being made with regards to free transportation for the celebrations.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: “People from Korovou for example Tailevu and Naitasiri and of course again from the western division…that transportation for members of the public who want to go to the events will be for free.”

A total of eleven bus companies will provide free transportation from withing the Suva to Nausori corridor.

This includes:

  • Central Transport
  • Citiline Buses Ltd
  • Dee Cees
  • George Transport
  • Nairs
  • Narere Buses Ltd
  • Nasese Buses Ltd
  • Tebara buses Ltd

The Coastline buses from between Korolevu and Suva and Lodoni Transport Limited servicing QVS, Korovou, Lodoni and RKS are also free to the stadium.

Tacirua Buses that services the larger Naitasiri and Namosi provinces will also provide free bus services on Monday.

The government has also requested that members of the public coming to the two events wear blue for the celebrations.

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