November 23, 2021
Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist and Fijiana 7s forward Raijeli Daveua says critics have made her become a stronger and better rugby player.
The Yasawa native told FijiLive that people in her village always criticised women playing football but she stood strong and took the criticism in a good way.
Daveua said she felt hurt whenever people passed negative comments on her dressing like a rugby player and playing rugby in the village but she never lost hope.
"It’s the criticism that made me a strong rugby player."
"When I started playing rugby women and men didn’t support me. Most of them said bad things and said that women look good at home doing house work but I kept the hope and tried really hard to prove them wrong."
"Getting selected in the Fiji women’s 7s squad was the biggest joy of my life. That was the time I knew that I had the go in me and made rugby my passion."
"Rugby helped my family to get out of poverty and also helped my parents a lot. People usually say `` what will you get by playing rugby? `` and now they have seen what I have got with rugby."
"For me rugby is not a sport or way to earn income, but it’s a different kind of happiness where I lose, I learn, I win, I still learn. I benefit from the sport in all ways. The girls I play with all have different stories but we encourage each other."
"We motivate and support each other. If someone is not doing well, we don’t make fun of them, instead we reach out to them. All of us faced difficulties but we also reaped the fruit of struggle and challenges," she explained.
The 29-year-old has been part of the Fijiana 7s squad for the past seven years and said that as a hooker and rover she has to put up a strong performances at the Dubai 7s this week.
"We just returned from the Olympics and the expectations are very high so we have to play really good rugby."
"Coach Saiasi Fuli also told us to be humble and display good rugby because as bronze medalists, the other teams will attack us and we just need to counter them."
"Dubai will be the opening of a new series and a new season will begin so we will go in as winners and try our best."
"The players are showing good discipline on the field and that is a positive note to a new beginning. It will be a tough competition but the players also have a role and responsibility to play in the team," she added.
The Dubai 7s kicks off on Friday.
By Romeka Romena