September 02, 2021
National 7s coach Gareth Baber admits that he was fully aware of the challenges ahead of coaching the Fiji 7s side to the Tokyo Olympics.
Baber said as a coach he was able to point out the challenges and worked on them which saw the side defend their Gold recently.
“You have challenges and you always know as a coach that you have challenges and always knew the challenges of being Fijian coach. You know the best that comes in terms of sevens rugby. In the world.”
“I knew there would be challenges on and off the field but I don’t think anybody would have predicted what we had to deal with and not just but everybody across the world as well.”
Baber said the postponement of the Olympics to another year was a blessing for him although his plans were bruised but he managed to set me on fire at the start of this year.
“From the period when the Olympics was postponed and pushed back a year and then how you put programs together, put people to mission, focused and targeted towards doing what we all wanted to do in the men’s group which was to defend and bring back the gold.”
“I’m pleased that those episodes and challenges have got us to where we need to. And I think that in Fiji when we have challenges and difficulties, the process of going through all that brings resilience, skills and mental density to stick with the challenge that we had.”
The Welshman acknowledged the envoys behind the team’s success and said the challenges have become a lovely memory for him.
“On top of that build the capability to do what you need to do and that’s what was very pleasing for me. When you look back at everything that sat underneath getting to Tokyo and the performance put in which went fantastic across the board.”
“But it almost was a bit of a model for what the last year and a bit of life were like starting a bit bumpy and trying to get it together, going away thinking about it and coming back and moving on, forgiving each other, looking for the next performance. And that’s why I love the sport and love doing what I have done in Fiji.”
“There were some tough memories but when you get the result at the end they become lovely memories because they are part of the journey. I’m pleased from all the staff's memory, the players-what they sacrificed but also what people part of the support network like FRU and government and FASANOC and Fiji Airways bound together to push elevator performances. I’m so grateful to the people that were around us,” he added.
By Romeka Romena