The stunning Olympic Games gold medal win by Fiji in the rugby sevens is a celebration for the entire Pacific Islands region, according to the Director-General of the Pacific Community, Dr Colin Tukuitonga.
“This is a magnificent and emphatic victory by a Pacific Island nation on the world stage,” Dr Tukuitonga said in Suva today.
“While Fijians are rejoicing, this proud victory will be celebrated across all 22 Pacific Island countries and territories,” he said.
In a region beset by youth unemployment and among the highest levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease globally, Dr Tukuitonga said Fiji’s Olympic Games victory had an added dimension as the rugby players were outstanding role models for the benefits of leading active, healthy lifestyles.
“I hope this stunning, well-earned victory by Fiji at the Rio 2016 Olympics will inspire our region’s young people to make healthier lifestyle choices and gain greater self-belief they can mix it with the world’s best, in sport and any other sector, if they work hard,” he said.
In 2012, Fiji’s Iliesa Delana claimed gold at the Paralympic Games in London in the high jump event when he cleared the bar at 1.74 metres to take home the Pacific’s first ever Paralympic gold medal.
“Pacific Island nations may have the smallest teams competing in Rio, but Fiji has today proven they are mighty,” Dr Tukuitonga said.
The other Pacific Islands with teams competing at the Rio Olympics are American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Fiji’s victory coincides with International Youth Day.
Lauren Robinson, SPC Media Relations, [email protected] or +679 337 9250
Photo: Dave Hebblethwaite
The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, proudly supporting development since 1947. It is an international development organisation owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members, including Fiji.
In July, SPC and the Kingdom of Tonga hosted the first ever Pacific Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases. See http://www.spc.int/en/ncd-summit.html