Derenalagi’s family proud of his achievements

Ratu Vuniani Derenalagi in full support of his son Meli Derenalagi in Nadi yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

The family of lanky Fijian 7s forward Ratu Meli Derenalagi could not be more proud when their son scored Fiji’s first try at the Tokyo Olympics sevens rugby final against a star-studded All Blacks side on Wednesday.

Proud father Ratu Vuniani Derenalagi said the achievement would be one of the most memorable for his rugby-mad family.

Emotions ran deep in their family home in Nawaka, Nadi as loud cheers and warm smiles filled their household when the national team ran rampage against the mighty All Blacks in the gold medal clash.

“Tu Meli sacrificed a lot in life to earn a spot at the Tokyo Olympics and winning the gold medal with his team would be forever etched in our family history as far as rugby is concerned,” Ratu Vuniani said.

“There were challenges he had conquered with his team as they prepared for the Olympics but we have always believed that behind every challenge is a success.

“We last spoke on Saturday and the only advice I told him was not to forget that he is representing his family, vanua and the people of Fiji.

“It is a proud moment for the family and we have close relatives from the village who joined us at home during Fiji’s final against the All Blacks.”

Ratu Vuniani said that even though rugby had been part of their family for decades, Ratu Meli’s recent achievement was one not to be forgotten.

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