Bronze win – Fijiana 7s wins first Olympic Games medal

Fiji's Vasiti Solikoviti runs with the ball in Fiji's women's rugby sevens semifinal match against New Zealand at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

The Fijiana 7s team have created their own piece of history by beating Team Great Britain 21-12 to win the Tokyo Olympics sevens rugby women’s bronze medal.

Two tries to lanky Alowesi Nakosi in the first half and one to Reapi Uluinasau in the second half was enough to secure the third spot.

Team GB managed to score two tries but it was not enough to get them back into the game.

The win was a continuation of the good performance by the Fijiana side who were unlucky to lose to giants New Zealand 22-17 in extra time in their semi-final.

In that game the 2016 silver medallists had to dig deep as the Fijians’ running and signature big hits disrupted the Kiwi’s to put on their worst performance yet.

Kiwi rover Gayle Broughton was the woman who broke the 17-17 deadlock in extra-time ending the Fijiana golden dream.

“In the second half we were just waiting for them to attack and play like Fiji.

“We had an opportunity to show why we wear this jersey and what it represents and what it brings out in us,” Broughton told Sky Sports.

It ended a mammoth effort by both teams, with Fiji’s calmness under pressure admirable.

Fiji focused on the task and at moments towered over the number one rank team in the world as they focused on securing a finals spot unshaken by their opposition.

Unfortunately, it was not the fairytale ending but the Fijiana rallied the nation once more through a trying pandemic with a powerful performance that would be remembered in the chronicles of the Olympics.

New Zealand played France in the final last night.

(This article was published in The Sunday Times on August 1, 2021)

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