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Fiji Time: 12:50 PM on Friday 25 April

/ Front page / Sport

Hero welcomed home

Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, December 15, 2013

THE people of Naveyago, Navosa through the support of Sigatoka River Safari hosted a special ceremony to thank their hero Semi Kunatani for his achievement at the Dubai 7s tournament.

The Fiji 7s newbie made his international 7s debut in Dubai where he played an instrumental role in the national team's first-ever win.

Sigatoka River Safari owner and Sigatoka Town Council special administrator Jay Whyte said they hoped to inspire future generation of players through the reception.

A village signboard featuring Kunatani was also unveiled during the ceremony.

"The idea for this came to me after Semi made his sterling debut at Dubai, where he was instrumental in the 44-0 walloping of the NZ All Black 7s team and he was also a major part of the team's first win in Dubai on the IRB Series," Whyte, who is the creator of the Fiji Coral Coast 7s, said.

"He then capped this off with inclusion in the Dream Team from this competition.

"Even if their vocation may not be in sports, the idea that hard work is rewarded by this sort of success was something we wanted to share with the vanua."

Kunatani, who is originally from Naveyago, Navosa, was thrilled with the reception.

"I could not believe that in my first tournament against teams and players I have watched on TV, would we beat New Zealand 44-0 and then defeat South Africa in the final and then to cap it all off be named in the Dream Team at my first tournament," he said.

Whyte said the ceremony was also attended by the guests from the Sigatoka River Safari who were being hosted by the village.

"Throughout the afternoon many people posed with Semi, shook hands and kissed their new sporting hero," he added.

"Many times throughout the afternoon you could hear Yamacia Jisoko!"