Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says the magnitude of our women’s achievements has demonstrated to everyone in Fiji and the world that the national sport truly belongs to everyone.
He made this comment during the launch of the Fiji Rugby 2023 Women’s Campaign at the margins of the Special Pacific Forum Leaders’ Meeting with the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong in Nadi last night.
Rabuka acknowledged the Australian Government’s continuous support towards Fiji and said the theme of this week’s Special Leaders’ Meeting is “Reflection, Renewal and Celebration”.
“On reflection, and in keeping with this meeting theme, I recall the enormous strides Fiji Rugby has made since its establishment in 1913. Today I am proud to celebrate the notable achievement of Fiji Rugby’s remarkable treasure trove of; two (2) Olympic Gold Medals, 1 Bronze Medal, 1 Quarter Cup Final at the Rugby World Cup, IRB 7s Series Champions and 1 Super W win.”
“I also acknowledge the accomplishments of our Women’s Rugby teams that have against all odds made a series of exceptional accomplishments in the last few years, since its relaunch in 2017 by winning the Super W in its maiden season, Olympic bronze medal in 2021 and silver in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
Rabuka highlighted that this is incredibly important because as we all are aware, sport can contribute to improving health and education, creating employment, stimulating economic development and realising human rights and gender equality.
“These are values we all hold dear and whose efforts we must all support. Everyone present here today understands this and therefore, I’d like to acknowledge the incomparable support of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and the people of Australia.”
“Today’s gathering underscores the importance of our Vuvale partnership and while we are bound together by geography, it is sport that brings our people together. This is evident in the immeasurable impacts that the PacificAus Sports is making in ensuring that Pacific and Australian athletes are not only training and playing together at the highest levels but also forging dizzying heights of excellence and friendship.”
He also relished a significant event in 1952 when Fiji Rugby rose to accept the invitation of the Australian Rugby Union to tour Australia as part of a fundraising event to assist the Australian Union.
“I am reliably informed Fiji stepped in after other international unions were incapable of accepting the invitation, and most remarkable is that the tour was a resounding success for both our Unions.”
He added the Government of Fiji is committed to seeing this partnership grow not only as an enabler for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“As we look forward and prepare for the enormous decade of sports and rugby ahead of us, we know that there is significant opportunity to progress together as one Pacific Vuvale and the Fiji Rugby Union is keen to partner with Rugby Australia and PacificAus Sports in upcoming tournaments and competitions culminating in the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.”