Tuwai: Gold ‘for Fiji’

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Rugby Sevens - Men - Medal Ceremony - Tokyo Stadium - Tokyo, Japan - July 28, 2021. Fiji players react after receiving gold medals. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

COVID-19 and the controversial land Bill public debate has taken back seat after Fiji retained the Olympic Games gold medal beating New Zealand 27-12 in Japan on Wednesday night.

Fijians across the globe, Fiji’s rugby fans and some international leaders are celebrating the rare feat and the record Fiji set in the games as the first nation to win the gold medal back to back.

The team lands in Nadi today and head for quarantine after dedicating the victory to our country which has been devastated by the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. very special for Fiji.

“Everything that’s been going on in Fiji and all the expectation, as the coach and myself know is that all Fijians want only the win,” Tuwai said.

“Winning this gold medal will be a very, very good day for Fiji today. I think it’s more special because we’ve been away from our family for about five to six months so this one is special.”

Tuwai was the lone survivor from the 2016 Rio Games to play in Japan. The others were travelling reserve Kitione Taliga and trainer Naca Cawanibuka.

Only the athletes receive medals.

Radio New Zealand reported that Tuwai tried to give his gold medal to coach Ga- “Jerry was trying to give me his medal,”

Baber laughed.

“I said ‘I’m not going to be taking that off you’ and he said ‘no no I won one, you have this one’…because that’s the man that he is. He would never take the credit for what he has done, and he has achieved.

It’s a phenomenal feat to have done what he’s done.”

Baber, left for Wales yesterday to join his family after seven months. He thanked Fijians for their support.

“To all the people in Fiji, thank you very much for believing in us. Thank you for your support. For the players it has been pretty much done for the people of Fiji and everything you going through at the mo- Tuwai revealed he almost skipped camp because the pandemic separated him from his family.

“I nearly jumped camp because I missed them,” Tuwai said.

The pandemic isolated the players from their loved ones for almost a year.

Fiji beat New Zealand to win 27 -12 in the gold medal final, 26-14 against a spirited Argentina in the semi-finals and ousted Australia 19-0 in the quarters.

Congratulatory messages had also been received from Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, his Australian counterpart Scott Morris and Irish Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon.

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