Baljeet will never forget
26 May, 2016, 12:00 am
It was a lifetime experience to cover the Singapore Sevens at an international stage.
On April 12 at 11 pm I, along with our western based senior sports journalist Maciu Malo boarded the Fiji Airways direct flight to Singapore. It was a joyful journey for us and I was eager to explore Singapore as I heard a lot about it through movies and people. We arrived at Changi Airport at 5am on April 13.
After taking a nap for three hours we were invited to cover the launch of the Singapore Sevens with the Vodafone Fiji sevens side. The launching arena was quite empty as we arrived but it took minutes to fill up as our sevens gladiators marched in for the launch.
A number of fans turned up to meet our sevens side and for some of the guests it was their first time to meet them. While taking pictures at the airport a few passing by rushing to catch their planes just quickly popped in to meet the team.
The next morning I took a taxi ride as I started my journey searching for the New Zealand All Blacks and the Vodafone Fiji sevens side training venues. As I came outside the Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel where we were checked in I saw a number of people standing in a queue. I had no idea what was going on but upon asking one of the employees there I came to know they were also waiting for taxis. I thought to myself… wow in Fiji the taxi drivers run after passengers but it’s totally the opposite here.
So after waiting for about half an hour we managed to get a cab exploring Singapore on our way to ACS School grounds where the All Blacks were training. The team drew quite a number of fans due to the presence of Sonny Bill Williams in their squad. After collecting pictures and articles we took off to another destination where the Vodafone Fiji 7s team was training. The temperature was quite high, similar to Fiji.
On Friday the first day of the Singapore Sevens colleague Maciu and I were eager to get to the stadium to cover the event.
Before leaving the hotel we sat down and planned out our day to cover all the assignments we wanted to.
Upon reaching the stadium it didn’t look that big from outside but as I went inside the stadium it was like we were inside an oval shaped ball.
The stadium was closed and whatever happened inside could not be heard outside. It was empty when we arrived and slowly the crowd numbers started to rise. While taking shots I heard some people calling from behind the crowd “hey Fiji Times take our pictures” and when I turned I saw a number of Fiji fans throwing poses for the papers back home.
The final day was awesome because by then my other fellow photographers already knew where I was from so it was like they were all cheering for Fiji as the Vodafone Fiji sevens side marched to the finals of the Singapore Sevens. Even though Kenya lifted the trophy after the final… the crowd was drawn towards our sevens heroes for pictures and autographs which showed why we are always the number one in sevens.
After spending three more days exploring Singapore we headed back to Fiji on Tuesday and reached here on Wednesday morning. Singapore is there an experience I will cherish forever.