The CEO Fiji Rugby;

The Coach and Management Staff of Fijiana 7s;
Media Partners.

Bula Vinaka and a very good evening to you all. Thank you for the update on your preparations. You’ve all been working extremely hard ahead of this summer games.

You know it, your coaches know it, your families know it, your nation knows it, and come this summer, the world will know it as well. This Olympic season has been like few others in history. The last time the global games were deferred was the Second World War. We are now caught in a very different conflict: The global campaign to contain the coronavirus. Thanks to the advent of safe and viable COVID19 vaccines, we are winning. Of course, we can’t afford to touch down the ball before we reach the try-line – there is still much work to be done to defeat this deadly virus. But we can see a golden glimmer at the end of this dark tunnel, and your dreams of Olympic achievement are now back within reach.

Fiji’s fast action to contain the virus meant that you all were not training at home nearly as long as other athletes around the world. We have gone more than 320 days without a local case of the virus, and we owe that achievement to the vigilance and sacrifice of our healthcare heroes. Let’s give them another round of applause this evening. Our ability to safely resume contact sports hasn’t only aided your Olympic preparations, it has restored a semblance of normalcy for our people in a year that has been anything but ordinary.

We have some familiar faces here tonight who represented Fiji proudly at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Rusila Nagasau, Ana Naimasi, Ana Roqica, and Rejieli Daveua – these preparations aren’t new to any of you. When you take the field in Tokyo, we’ll see the benefit of that experience. But tonight, I want to speak about what we’ve already seen – the inspiration you and your teammates have served the young women of this country. When our coaches were looking to assemble the squad that ultimately competed in Rio, there were 200 registered women rugby players in Fiji. Now, there are more than 1000. I want to credit the outreach we’ve done to spur interest among women in this game.

But really, we all know that nothing motivates young people more than watching their heroes compete on the world’s greatest stage. As athletes, it is your effort, your victories, your passion that is bringing this beautiful game into the lives of more young women every year. And their eyes are upon you once again. Fijian fans may not be out in full force in Tokyo due to the COVID restrictions, but we will be with you. No matter what time you’re playing, we’ll be up, we’ll be watching, and we’ll be cheering you on from home. I trust we’ll have the chance to give you a proper send-off before you depart for Japan. Until then, keep up the hard work.

The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is what really separates the good from the great. So, keep training, keep working, and continue becoming that great team you’re capable of being.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

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