August 04, 2021
Fiji 7s winger Jiuta Wainiqolo reveals that Fiji 7s captain Jerry Tuwai is his role model and always motivates him to do better.
“Yes, every day I was just talking and was with Jerry. I went to his room and was telling Jerry. Hey can you tell me how the win is like when you won the Rio. He was telling me, man it’s a long story man. You should win this Tokyo Olympic and see this.”
“Jerry Tuwai is always my favourite player and my role model. I always look up to him in any situation. I’m so happy and feel so blessed to be playing with him. He always motivates me and tells me what is right, what is wrong, what to do, just to focus on my training and rugby. I’m always close to him and he always talks about his journey,” Wainiqolo said.
In a video interview with Fiji Rugby, Wainiqolo also revealed that he began his sporting career as a footballer in primary school and after Fiji won the Rio Olympics, he got motivated and moved into rugby.
“I started playing football from primary and high school in Vasist Muni college primary and college. I didn’t play rugby a lot but played soccer more. Going up to secondary, I represented my school in the southern zone going all over Fiji, Labasa, Ba-enjoying playing soccer. Then I was chosen in Fiji under 20 side and I did not make it.”
“In 2016 when Fiji won the Rio Olympics, I was sitting at home and watching the celebration in Suva. I was counting myself and counting the year. I was telling myself that I’ll be the next Olympian and my dream just came true.”
The Olympian said the Fiji 7s training is very tough and challenging compared to the Fijian Drua training.
But with the support from their trainer Mr Nacanieli Cawanibuka and coach Gareth Baber, he defeated all the obstacles and made it to the Tokyo Olympics.
“I was telling the coach the Fiji 7s training was so hard but I thank the Fiji Rugby management and trainee Nacanieli Cawanibuka for their spiritual word and the encouragement. They motivate me to keep pushing and go the extra mile.”
“When I was training for the Fiji 7s team I thought I will never make it because the training was so hard but I managed to get through it. You know preparing for Olympics, lockdown in Suva. I’ve been away from our family for five months. Now it’s so hard. We’re about to separate, we’re about to break camp. But the coach was getting us to stay together and enjoy this opportunity, this time because we’ll never get it again.”
The Navira, Ra native also mentioned the training was difficult and he felt like running away but the motivation from the Flying Fijian players and Fiji 7s official took the thought out of his mind.
“There were a lot of ups and downs in the camp. Some of us wanted to go home, some of us wanted to step. Some of us wanted to give up but I want to thank the Senior boys for keeping us together because it was so tough in camp and not seeing the family.”
“When we were in Tokyo, we were cheering for our Flying Fijian brothers and that’s what motivated us to win,” he added.
By Romeka Romena