Celebrations in Fiji as 7s team claim Tokyo Olympics’ Men’s Sevens Gold

Celebrations erupted in Fiji and jubilant Fijians spilt out of their homes to express their joy with neighbours from the confines of their compounds, with some even braving a celebratory march through their neighbourhood amidst curfew to celebrate the country’s second successive Olympic 7s gold medal win after beating New Zealand 27-12 in the final at Tokyo Stadium this evening.

It was the most welcomed news to a country grappling with the devastating effects of the COVID19 pandemic that has infected more than 26,000 individuals, killed more than 200 people, left people jobless and separated families since the outbreak began in April.

So much so that the daily COVID19 update from the Ministry of Health, announcing more than 1000 cases tonight, did little to quash spirits nor get the traction it normally would every other night as Fijians countrywide savoured the victory.

The four-try feat by the Fiji 7s team also meant skipper Jerry Tuwai became the first rugby 7s player to win two Olympic gold medals, adding on to his growing list of accolades that include three World 7s Series titles and World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Decade.

Fiji meant business from the kick-off, taking a 12-0 lead within the first three minutes via tries from Meli Derenalagi and Sireli Maqala.

New Zealand’s Scott Curry pulled one back for the All Blacks 7s but Jiuta Wainiqolo restored the margin with a try before the break to put Fiji in the lead 19-5 at half-time.

The Kiwis bounced back early in the second half via Sione Molia’s try but that was to be their final move as Asaeli Tuivuaka touched down for Fiji’s fourth to seal the victory.

New Zealand settled for silver, and the Pumas’ get bronze after beating Great Britain 17-12 in the bronze medal final.

South Africa beat the USA 28-7 to finish fifth whilst Australia claim the seventh spot with a 26-7 victory over Canada.

Kenya finished ninth with a 22-0 win over Ireland and the home side Japan finished 11th via a 31-19 win over the Republic of Korea.

But Fiji’s rugby 7s campaign is far from over with the Fijiana beginning their campaign tomorrow, opening their account against the French.

Photo: Fiji Rugby

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