|President Stresses Importance of Touch Rugby
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau stressed the important role touch rugby plays in social cohesion and nation building while launching the sport’s world cup campaign at the Holiday Inn in Suva this evening.
Ratu Epeli added that the accolades and prominence touch rugby has brought to Fiji, bagging wins on the international sporting arena, calls for greater support for the sport.
“Not often do we find a sport that can be played by anyone, male and female, young and old as it is played in beaches, villages greens and communities around the country,” Ratu Epeli said.
“A sport that brings the family and community together to play each other in a game that offers both a competitive as well as a social mix with a unifying force that helps to foster team work, discipline as well as social cohesion and community solidarity which are important ingredients for nation building.
“Although touch rugby is a minor sport in the country it has made Fiji proud of its achievements.”
The Touch Rugby Association is hoping to raise about $100,000 to finance logistics and travel for the two teams they plan to field at the Touch Rugby World Cup to be staged from June 22 to 26 at Peffermills playing grounds, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Over 90 teams from 30 different countries will participate at the world cup in two divisions – open and seniors – across seven categories.
Fiji will be represented in the Mix Open and Men’s 30’s categories.
Fiji is seeded 3rd in the world in the Men’s 30’s categories and seeded 8th in the Mix Open.
Ratu Epeli noted that with a track record of successes, since the sport was introduced in Fiji in 1985, teams from Fiji were ready to stun the world.
Past successes include:
· 1999 – placed 8th in the Mix Open Category at the TWC in Australia
· 2003 – Gold Medal in Mixed and Men’s Open Categories at the South Pacific Games in Suva
· 2005 – Gold Medals in Mix, Men’s, Women’s and Men’s 30’s at SPIN, Samoa
· 2006 – Gold Medal (USP team) at World Universities Championships in Singapore
· 2007 – Gold Medal in Men’s Open at SPG, Samoa
· 2007 – Placed 4th in Men’s Open at M30’s category at TWC, South Africa
· 2009 – Silver in Mix and Men’s Open Categories at PMG, Cook Islands
“So their record speaks for itself,” Ratu Epeli said.
“Now I am told that most of the players who will represent the country at the upcoming Edinburgh world cup were part of the winning team from previous tournaments that I have already mentioned.
“Through these achievements, Fiji’s touch rugby has put Fiji on the world map which augurs well for our sporting fraternity and our international relations.