EVEN before he chose those track spikes, Niko Verekauta knew it would be the rugby studs he would eventually settle for.
And he worked hard to achieve his dream of becoming a household name on the rugby pitch as he has on the track.
Verekauta, the former Pacific sprint king, is just days away from realising his lifelong dream to play for the national rugby side after being included in the Fiji sevens team for the last leg of the 2011/12 International Rugby Board (IRB) HSBC Sevens World Series.
The Kadavu speedster, along with Naitasiri looseman Timoci Vakadranu will make their debut in the IRB 7s circuit at the Scotland 7s tournament which starts this Saturday.
Verekauta said support from his family had been the driving force behind his relentless strides to don the national jumper.
"It will be special running on a new turf and I know this is not an individual sport but a team sport," he said.
"And this wouldn't have come through if it wasn't for the help from God, the talent He has given and the support from my family members, their prayers and all of it has turned out to be a good outcome."
Verekauta began his athletics career when he was a Class Three student at the Suva Methodist Primary School. From the very beginning, Verekauta had an eye for gold and won medals in almost every event he took part in from a young age.
He was suspended for an incident during the Pacific Games.
He went to Suva Grammar School and played for its rugby team from 2001 to 2004.
It was in 2004 when Verekauta decided to make a comeback in athletics after his rugby coach said that in order to make the Suva Grammar rugby team for a New Zealand, the boys were to first participate in the Coca Cola Games.
This was when Verekauta's athletics career boomed and he eventually became the next big name on track.
The 25-year-old made his golden debut for Fiji in the Pacific Mini Games in 2006 and went on to participate in the Pacific Games, Commonwealth Games and the Beijing Olympic Games.
In 2008, he attended his first Fiji 7s trials for the Dubai and George 7s tournaments in the 2008/09 Series.
Verekauta failed to get his spot in the national team but this didn't dampen his spirit as he later joined the Wardens team and continued with his dazzling performance at the domestic 7s tournaments.
"Every boys dream is to represent Fiji and don the white jersey," the prison officer based in Naboro said.
"My son has been an inspiration to me because he is named after my grandfather (Peni Verekauta).
"I always dedicated my victories to him (grandfather) and now I will do the same to my son." Meanwhile, the Alifereti Dere-coached side is drawn in Pool C with Argentina, Portugal and Zimbabwe at the Scotland 7s.
Fiji is trailing point's table toppers, New Zealand, by six points and needs to finish on top of the Kiwis in this leg to win the IRB 7s Series.
The team leaves for Scotland this morning.