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Koroi wants to be the best ref

Emoni Narawa
Monday, May 19, 2014

HIS namesake is a household name in sevens rugby. You mention Lemeki Koroi, the stocky built rugby player that mesmerised the 1997 Rugby World Cup Sevens flashes back in your mind when Fiji clinched its first ever Melrose Cup victory under the guidance of the late Rupeni Ravonu.

However, last week, a new Lemeki Koroi wanted to create a legacy of his own on the same rugby paddock but playing a different role on the field.

Instead of being a player, 21-year-old Koroi wants to take the world of rugby by storm, as a referee.

The Year 13 student of Rewa Secondary School graduated with a Level 2 IRB Match Official Certificate. Koroi and six other local referees were the first in Fiji to graduate with a Level 2 certificate.

This is an open door for the Nukutubu lad from Rewa. He says he wants to achieve higher achievements than his two course conductors, James Bolabiu and Patrick Gock.

"I'm so happy to achieve this milestone, of course it's an open door to the world," he said.

"I went through a tough time while going through the course but I am thankful to the support of my dad and family that enabled me to reach this stage."

Koroi says he is not related to former sevens star Lemeki Koroi.

"That Lemeki Koroi is the namesake of my grandfather, I'm not related to him but I will want to pursue a career like him, also in the rugby field but this time, I'm in control of the matches.

"That inspiration will drive me to achieve higher goals in future refereeing career and I am looking forward to face the challenges."

Koroi traded his rugby boots for a whistle while attending high school at Rewa Secondary, School five years ago.

"I injured my shoulder during a rugby match while in Year 10 at Rewa Secondary. I did not finish that game and it really hurts to watch my teammates from the sideline.

"Then I thought of picking up a whistle and be a referee because I am injured. In this way only I can be also in the ground with them during game time.

"I wanted to reach the highest I can in my career. If those refs on television can reach that level, we also have two legs and two hands like them so nothing is impossible."

Koroi, the eldest of five advised young youths to keep on striving towards their goal despite facing difficulties.

"I endured the struggle while studying the course because I travel right from Koronivia to Laucala where the course is held. But now I've reaped the reward of enduring and I advice my peers, never to give up in anything they aim for."

Koroi wants to control a Skipper Cup match in the future.

He has been an assistant referee in previous rounds.

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