Ben Ryan ready to release book

Fiji's most successful sevens coach Ben Ryan. Picture: FILE

Fiji's most successful sevens coach Ben Ryan. Picture: FILE

WITCHDOCTORS, rugby-obsessed prime ministers, sun-smeared dawns and devastating cyclones, intense friendships and bitter rows, phone taps and wild nationwide parties.

Heaven- The beautiful chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream due to be released on May 31 by former sevens coach Ben Ryan is not your usual sports story.

“Well to really find that out you need to get a copy,” Ryan says in response to our curiosity on the contents of the book.

“Even if you have been close to everything around the team whilst I was in Fiji, so much of the story will be new to you.”

But he does give us some titbits.

“I am very open about my marriage, my upbringing, how my relationship with my best friend growing up moulded a lot of my views on life, what drives me as well as talk in a lot more detail about some of the players, behind the scenes stories and of course Rio.”

It has been two years since Ryan left Fiji with an Olympic gold medal, two world champion series titles, three acres of land, a Companion of the Order of Fiji and of course a chiefly title.

In these two years, considerable work had been down with BBC chief sports reporter, Ton Fordyce.

Both being busy people, Ryan and Fordyce would meet whenever their schedules permitted.

From coffee shops in London to sporting events, they would use the opportunity to discuss the book.

“We spent the whole week of the world athletics championships talking at the stadium or the Nike athletes area about the team and it was amazing how many world class athletes came up to say hi and remembered me and the team from Rio,” Ryan said.

“We did the same at the Wimbledon tennis championships. He recorded everything and would also go and research everything too.- Fijian history, culture etc.

“I got some of the main characters in the book to send him videos so he could see how they talked, their mannerisms and so on so the reader would also feel that when they were talked about it.”

Ryan also supplied videos and pictures and there have been at least 10 to 12 drafts before they were content it was good for printing.

“Finally, when we are happy it goes to the lawyers and they then tell us if we have to change stuff or not. There actually was quite a lot of that and thankfully most of the stories I wanted in are in but a couple were stopped by the lawyers. That’s how it works and none of those omitted reduce the power of the story. The legal people are always very cautious and will never publish something that they know they cannot prove.

“From cyclones and bankruptcy, relationship breakdowns, death and armed robbery, gold medals and pacific life, it’s got the lot.”

There is no official launching of the book but it will also be available in Fiji.

Pre-sales for the book have been strong. There is also a Kindle and an audio version of the book and Ryan is making sure Fijian names and terms are pronounced correctly.

Ryan will be holding a signing session at Twickenham during the London 7s as well as the RWC 7s in San Francisco.




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