Sport in Fiji
Sports culture is unique as different racial mixes and cultures come together in a common interest. Fiji is fanatical about sports and the most dominant sports being rugby union, association football and Rugby League.
Various forms of traditional boat racing and wrestling are also performed.
Fiji Sports Council
The Fiji Sports Council is an organization in charge of organizing International tournaments for Fiji athletes. It is also affiliated to FASANOC. The organization is headed by its Chairman Tom Ricketts (Fiji politician)
It is also one of the leading provider of quality sports & recreational facilities and programs at national, regional and international levels. It was established in 1978 under the Fiji Sports Council Act and year later in 1979, it hosted the first South Pacific Games. It was recently in charge of hosting the 2007 Netball World Championships which was to be held in Suva but due to the 2006 Military coup, the venue was shifted to New Zealand and Fiji lost out in hosting the biggest event of the year.
The Fiji national rugby union team is quite talented and has competed at five Rugby World Cup competitions, the first being in 1987. Their best results were at the 1987 and 2007 World Cups where they reached the quarter finals. Fiji also competes in the Pacific Tri-Nations and the Pacific Nations Cup. The Fiji national rugby sevens team is one of the most successful rugby sevens teams in the world. They have won 2 Sevens World Cup titles and the 2005/06 IRB Sevens Series. They have also won a number of Hong Kong Sevens titles which is considered the most prestigious annual international Sevens tournament.
The sport is governed by the Fiji Rugby Union which is a member of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, and contributes to the Pacific Islanders rugby union team. At the club level there are the Colonial Cup and Pacific Rugby Cup. Everyone loves to play and support others playing as well.
Rugby league is a popular team sport played in Fiji. The Fijian rugby league competition consists of nine teams.
Fiji has produced some of the finest rugby league players in the world. Notable examples include Lote Tuqiri and Petero Civoniceva, both of whom have played for Australia in international test matches, Queensland in the State of Origin series and the Brisbane Broncos in Australian club grand final victories.
The Fiji national rugby league team, known as Fiji Bati, has competed in the Rugby League World Cup on three occasions, with their best result coming when they made the semi-finals of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.
Outrigger paddling or Va'a has been in Fiji for many years now. It has grown to be a strong and competitive sport. Part of the South Pacific Games, it is integral to the unique identity of the pacific people. Outrigger Fiji is the National Federation overseeing the sport and its regularly run regattas and events. There are a few clubs in and around Fiji. Here is a link to one of them Takia Outrigger Canoe Club Fiji
Many sports exist in Fiji, and in many ways has its own cultural following. There are sports such as golf, which has been made famous by Fiji athlete Vijay Singh.Cricket and surfing which was brought to prominence by former world champion and Fiji Athlete Tony Phillips. Sailing in varying forms, various adventure sports, athletics, various Asian martial arts, and boxing. Whilst a handful of players of Fijian heritage currently play in the Australian Football League to date there is still no AFL competition in the country.
- Jimmy Snuka, professional wrestler & his son Jimmy Snuka Jr.
- Bobby Singh, professional NFL and CFL football player.
- Vijay Singh, a professional golfer
- Tony Philp, Windsurfer
- Waisale Serevi, a world-renowned sevens rugby player, is from Fiji. Commentators refer to him as the magician, or maestro also the King of Sevens. No.1 sevens player in the world with William Ryder closely following his footsteps.
- Lote Tuqiri, dual code international for Australia in rugby league and rugby union, and former captain of the Fiji national rugby league team.
- Petero Civoniceva, representative footballer for the Australia national rugby league team.
- Sitiveni Sivivatu and Joe Rokocoko are Fijians who play for New Zealand's All Blacks.
- Rupeni Caucau plays for a French rugby union club.
- David Rodan and Alipate Carlile, professional Australian rules footballers in the Australian Football League.
- Makelesi Bulikiobo, athlete
- Ivor Evans, professional soccer player. Played in the Canadian league.
- Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Legendary Cork Hurler
- Niko Verekauta, athlete
- Radike Samo, Australian rugby union player
Sports in older times had a practical place, apart from recreation, helping train young warriors. One such practice would have the older men bring the male children a severally injured captive of war, allowing the boys to practice their archery skills against this living target. There were other sports that were practiced in older times which are not practiced now. Notable traditional sports used to be played were tiqa, ulutoa, veisaga, and veisolo.
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