September 06, 2021
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Baber pushed me to give my best: Tuivuaka

Robust Fiji 7s forward and Tokyo Olympics Gold medalist Asaeli Tuivuaka admits Coach Gareth Baber's decision to drop him from the national team for the local tournaments pushed him to work harder.

Tuivuaka said winning the gold medal was something he never thought of following his recent injuries but he is thankful to Baber for the opportunity. 

The Nakavika, Namosi native said he thought his Olympic dream got shattered when he was not chosen to play in the national squads for local tournaments earlier this year.

“It was a hard run because I had injuries and I felt that Coach Baber would not select me because all the players chosen played in local tournaments and the Super 7s Series. I didn’t play and I thought that was the end of my career.”

“I used to see the boys playing but I stayed humbled and did my training. I was at the peak of quitting when I received a call from the coach and he asked me where I was. That phone call gave me hope and I joined the camp and made sure I left no room for mistakes.”

“The training session was challenging but I tried my best because the phone call meant a lot to me. I was surprised at first then we were given a hard task but I also kept reminding myself not to stop and keep giving my best performance.”

“I’ll always remember that moment and I just want to say that I’m really grateful to the coach for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to show what I have. I took the right turn and ensured that I helped the team in winning the gold.”

“I’ve never seen a coach like Baber who is always encouraging on and off the field. He makes sure that us players, we don’t lose track and reach our aim. Whatever things the team and I have gone through with the tough times is going to be a great memory,” he added.

By Romeka Romena  


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