August 15, 2021
Nasekula villagers in Labasa are eagerly waiting to welcome Fijiana 7s playmaker and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Viniana Riwai.
Speaking to FijiLive, Riwai’s father Maika Riwai said they are overjoyed with Viniana’s achievements and are eager to meet her.
He said since her childhood Viniana wanted to play rugby and after winning a bronze in Tokyo, she has made her family and whole village proud.
“Everyone is celebrating the win till today and we all just want to meet her and hug her. We haven’t seen her for more than three months and it was her long sacrifice that won her the medal. That Bronze is like Gold to us.”
“Her hard work finally paid off because we saw the struggles she had been going through and it’s worth her success. She has put a smile on our faces during this difficult time when some of our families in Viti Levu are facing the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.”
“After their win, she called home and was crying and thanking us for supporting her and believing in her. We have always been very supportive towards her and her dream. She dedicated the win to her parents and the villagers who have been praying for her.”
He said before leaving home for national camp, Viniana promised him and his wife that she will bring a medal from the Olympics.
“When they won the bronze, we got to know that she promised to win a medal. We saw her playing and we watched the emotion, the strength, the pride on her face when she ran riot with the other girls.”
“Her hard work and determination spoke volumes. When she was in camp, she called us and told me she wanted to give up because of staying away from families. But I reminded her that she is on a mission and she has to fight till the end. She fought and I’m really proud of her.”
“The whole village has been dancing and praising her. We thank God for the strength they gave to our daughter for fulfilling her and the family's dream.”
The 54-year-old revealed that they will welcome Viniana in style with celebration, prayer and feast which she will remember for the rest of her life.
The Fijiana 7s side are currently in quarantine.
By Romeka Romena