July 22, 2016
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Kolinisau is Fijiís flag bearer

Fiji Men’s Sevens Captain Osea Kolinisau will be the country’s flag bearer at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 30-year-old became Fiji’s first sevens player to achieve 50 tournaments and was the captain of the Fiji Team to win back to back series titles.

In 2016, he was ranked one of the top ten players for most points in a series and most conversions and ranked number one for most tackles made in the series.

And for the second time in a row, Kolinisau was selected into the World Rugby Sevens Dream team and holds the distinction of having won more tournaments than any other player in the country.

Kolinisau said he is excited by the prospect of leading the contingent for a once in a lifetime opportunity and added that he has told his squad to cherish the occasion and give it their best.

Flag bearers carry the national flag of their country at the opening ceremony and closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Men and women from across the country and from a variety of sports have carried the flag at both the Summer Olympic Games and the Winter Olympic Games.

These men and women have excelled in their chosen sports and are usually chosen by their peers to carry their national flag, one of the major privileged bestowed to an athlete.

Usaia Sotutu was Fiji's first ever flag bearer at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany and a noted runner. He was selected to represent Fiji in the South Pacific Games (now Pacific Games) numerous times. Usaia is also a Hall Of Fame inductee.

In 1976, Miriama Tuisorisori-Chambault was Fiji’s flag bearer. She was one of Fiji's most notably athletes having taken part in the long jump and pentathlon and again in 1984 took part in the 100 and 200m race.

In the Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, Judoka Viliame Takayawa was chosen as the country's flag bearer. Takayawa became the first Fiji judoka to win a Gold Medal at a South Pacific Games in Suva in 1979.
 
 At the Atlanta, Georgia, USA Olympics in 1996, South Pacific sprint king Jone Delai was chosen as flag bearer after his outstanding performance at what was the South Pacific Games, breaking record in the 100m and 200m events.

At the turn of the century in Sydney, Australia, the 2000 Olympic Games Fiji flag bearer was sailing's Tony Philips. Tony was chosen by his peers after a sporting career that included 13 individual Windsurfer World titles at the 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 World Championships (including 4 overall world titles) and competing at 5 consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000.

He was also vice–world champion in both the Windsurfer and Mistral Olympic Class in 1989 and 1999 and topped the ISAF (International Sailing Association Federation) world-ranking list for Olympic windsurfing in 1997.

In 2004 in Athens, Greece, another judoka in the form of Sisilia Rasokisoki became the country's flag bearer.  Sisilia was chosen after an impressive performance at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, where she won bronze in the women's 70 kg. She has won gold at both the South Pacific Games and the South Pacific Judo Championships.

Makelesi Bulikiobo became the 2008 flag bearer in Beijing, China. Bulikiobo created history when she became the first athletics athlete to make the Olympic Games on merit in the 400m event.

The 2012 flag bearer was the third judoka to have the honour in Josateki Naulu. Josateki competes in the men’s 81kg event, and has been one of the most consistent athletes.

By Reginald Chandar

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