Serious approach – Fiji 7s names big guns for Commonwealth Games

Paula Dranisinukula on attack against France in their Cup final match in 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Fiji has recalled its former 7s captain Paula Dranisinukula for the campaign to win its first Commonwealth Games rugby gold medal.

Dranisinukula was named alongside Olympians Seremaia ‘Jerry’ Tuwai, Napolioni Bolaca, Aminiasi Tuimaba, Kitione Taliga, Vatemo Ravouvou, Waisea Nacuqu, Sireli Maqala and Semi Tani Qerelevu Kunabuli, commonly known as Semi Kunatani, in Ben Gollings’ list for the games.

The Fiji 7s team has not won a gold medal in the history of the games. The contingent of 87 athletes plus 27 officials for the Birmingham Games in England next month, was announced by the chef de mission Sale Sorovaki in Suva yesterday.

“Team Fiji will depart on July 21 from the Nadi International Airport before the games begin on July 28,” Sorovaki said.

He said national federations and athletes had 48 hours to appeal the selection.

“Athletes and team officials have an opportunity to appeal their non-selection over another athlete.

“The appellant should appeal in writing,” he said. The extended Fiji men’s and women’s teams will be reduced before the contingent departs.

“The 26-member Fiji 7s and the Fiji women’s 13 players will be named on July 11.”

Meanwhile, the coaches for judo and triathlon were not named yesterday.

Sorovaki said discussions were underway on technical grounds on the eligibility of the coaches to take part in the games. The 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester judo gold medallist, Nacanieli Takayawa, was nominated as Fiji’s judo coach to Birminghan while triathlon had Maryann Moss.

Top Fijian athletes selected include athletics’ Banuve Tabakaucoro, Yeshnil Avishek Karan, judo’s Tevita Takayawa, and women’s rugby’s Rusila Nagasau, Raijieli Daveua, Sesenieli Donu, Ana Maria Roqica, Lavenia Tinai, and Alowesi Naikodravi Nakoci.

The Games are from July 28-August 8.

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