September 27, 2022
Fiji 7s speedster Vuiviawa Naduvalo has attributed all the success in his professional and sporting career to his father Ratu Tevita Ranacalevu who is also a chief in the province of Nadroga.
Speaking to FijiLive, the Fireman said his 75-year-old father has been his biggest source of strength and inspiration.
He said while losing his mum at the age of 4 left him without motherly love and care, his father did his best to ensure he was always given all the support.
"My mum passed away when I was still in pre-school. I got into tears because I knew we'll be living life without a mother."
"So we have only my dad back at home with two brothers and one sister."
"Life is hard and we have to go through a lot daily to put food on the table. I have to always ensure that I work hard to support my family."
The 24-year-old Semo villager said this has been a fairy-tale year for him as he got the opportunity to play for Fiji in the World Sevens Series, Commonwealth Games and the World Cup.
"I can't believe that I am where I was dreaming to be."
"And I just want to thank the Lord for bringing me this far and making my family super proud of my achievements."
The former Nadroga Arya College student said his dad perfectly played the role of a father and mother and always kept him humble, focused and determined.
"Everytime I spoke to him about playing rugby and representing the country, he would tell me to give my best and work very hard for the national jersey."
"He told me not to just train and be part of the squad but to work hard and follow in the footsteps of experienced players who have earned a name for themselves."
"I just want to thank my father for always motivating me in my work, rugby and everything in every part of my life. He's always motivated me every time."
"Whenever I don the white jersey, I think of my father. How he brought me up to come this far. And all those prayers, love and support he had for me and my family."
He also explained how he and the Fiji 7s team had to bounce back after settling for Silver at the Commonwealth Games in August.
"The team and I want to thank the Lord for what he has done for our team and our country as well."
"Fiji, after 17 years with 12 players went and fought for our countries and brought back the Melrose cup. We just want to thank God for everything, for giving us strength and mind to conquer victory, just for our country."
"Back in those days when we were preparing for the World Cup, all of us were 100% sure that we would take home this Cup, and I want to also thank them both for their effort and for giving everything just to win for our country."
"From the Commonwealth, there've been some learning experiences. Straight up the Commonwealth, we reviewed the games."
"We had many mistakes, we gave away possession, everything to South Africa and we kept on believing in ourselves that we will learn from that."
He said veteran Jerry Tuwai always boosted their confidence level of the players by reminding them of how Fiji won the last World Cup in 2005.
"17 years back, that was way back in 2005. I was only nine years old in class four watching the TV that year when Waisale Serevi lifted that cup and never in my wildest dream that after 17 years, I would also be part of the team that brought back the cup."
"Before the Commonwealth, it was our aim to win both the Commonwealth and a World Cup but we missed one. Jerry Tuwai said that we missed one. We won silver. The second one, we cannot miss it. We'll take this one home. And every time we have training sessions and we have meetings, he’ll always motivate us boys that the Melrose Cup is something we cannot let go."
"In Cape Town, we were emotional. When I was in my room after the game I was looking around thinking I was in a dream but it's real. And then from home, there were messages of congratulations for everything. Want to thank them for their love, prayers and support. And for us, the team, it was an emotional victory."
Naduvalo added that since the beginning of his rugby journey, he feels there's progress in everything he does.
"Maybe my prayers are answered every time and I can feel like that. I made progress in every game that I play in every year. And from there, I believe that I always said God is the only reason I made this one and also the one and only thing I'll move forward with."
"Straight after when I was dropped from the squad. I wanted to leave rugby because that's where all the players want to end up is donning the white jersey. That was when I wanted to leave rugby and just focus on my work."
"And then at the beginning of this year, I started to train again with one of our strength and conditioning coaches, got a call from me and said if you can just do this one more time, and then I met my coach Akuila Masi. He told me that this year is a World Cup, just give it one more shot. You can do it."
By Romeka Romena