Article by Harish Prasad
No sport personifies the spirit of the Olympics better than 7s Rugby,once again, won by the Fijians.
Some readers may recall the article I wrote in this publication in September 2016 (seems like yesterday) when I could not contain myemotions and demanded that the publishers of Fiji Times allow me to blurt out my exaltations. It is no different some 5 years later.
On 28 July 2021, as we hid in our homes, glued to the television, Fiji beat New Zealand in the final game and won Gold for the second time for the island nation of 900,000 inhabitants.
Remarkably, David triumphed over Goliath once more. While advanced nations, including Australia and New Zealand, spent millions in grooming its teams to win Gold in Tokyo, Fiji relied on an unknown expatriate coach to garner the nation's unique talent and the religious fervour of Fijians.
After 2016, anyone who wore the FIJI jersey believed that he was annointed and, that it was gods will, that they must win again in Tokyo.
Which other team of players have you seen shed tears as the national anthem is played? Which other team of players points to the sky after scoring a try?
Let's put this in perspective. Fijians have a passion for Rugby which no other nation possesses. Although so many Fijian players now live and play in other countries we still find equally talented players from a dwindling pool. Whoever selected, is bestowed with the same responsibility. He is transformed into a giant killer against all odds.
Covid has hit Fiji hard. Just as it has punched above its weight in the Olympics, unfortunately, there is a parallel in terms of covid numbers.The percentage of population affected in Fiji exceeds that of other countries.
Like in Australia, one must blame the Government of the day for its failure to control the spread of covid in Fiji.
There is great hardship. Just like it did in 2016, the gold medal victory will give the general population something to cheer about.
Harish Prasad Is a Lawyer in Parramatta and an occasional contributor to the FijiTimes