Defending champions Yamacia after winning the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens last year. Photo: MARGARET NAQIRI.
Tuesday 5 August. The Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens today celebrated 100 Days To Go with one eye on the Olympic Games in two year’s time.
Guest speaker, renowned media identity Mark Watson, said the introduction of Rugby Sevens into Rio 2016 is setting up the tournament for long-term success.
“Sevens in the Olympic Games will change the landscape and the global point of view when it comes to rugby will no longer be the XV-man code, it will be Sevens,” the New Zealander told an invited audience at the Outrigger on the Lagoon . Fiji. “Fiji has never won an Olympic medal, of any colour, and (smaller countries like) Kenya, Samoa and Fiji are some of those that can beat the likes of New Zealand to do this.
“When you think about the world of Sevens you think Fiji, whether it is Serevi or the early years in Hong Kong, and tournaments like this will become the focal point for the world. Countries will want to develop their Sevens teams and the best way to benchmark is to come to Fiji and play against the best.
“When I came in 2013 I was blown away by the talent on display and this tournament is incredibly special and will be in huge demand.”
The Radio Network host, who has also been a television commentator the Olympic Games, said the Olympic impact on a sport can be profound.
“I was involved in the sport of triathlon in the year it became an Olympic sport and it (Olympic inclusion) changes the sport, the investment and the interest in it. Fiji has the opportunity to capitalise as the whole world will want to come to the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.”
Watson said the momentum of the sport was only going to continue with the Olympics.
“It’s only appropriate that we see Sevens at the Olympic Games as it gives the region – Micronesia and Polynesia – an opportunity to win medals, create great sporting moments and bring a country together.”
Now in its fifth year, the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens has unequalled prizemoney, unrivalled media coverage and unmatched star power, having previously hosted Waisale Serevi, David Campese, Jonah Lomu, Ben Gollings, Viliame Satala and Sir Gordon Tietjens.
“I am delighted to announce that former New Zealand Sevens captain Karl te Nana will be the chief guest and ambassador for this year’s event,” said Philip Toogood, Managing Director, Bayleys Real Estate (Fiji) Ltd. “’KT’ played in 25 IRB tournaments and scored a then record 113 tries and we are thrilled that he and his family will be joining us in November.
“The Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens is all about family. It builds relationships with the local community, players and spectators and like-minded businesses but mostly it allows us to have fun in a game we all love.
“We are very proud to be part of a young tournament, but one that has a tremendous future, and we are looking forward to a long future with the event.”
Twenty-four men’s and 16 women’s teams, including defending champions Yamacia and Telecom Fijiana, will take part in the Bayleys Fiji Coral Coast Sevens on November 13-15 at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka.
Tickets for the tournament go on sale in October.