Title to change hands

Lavinia Jone Vota charges forward against Vatuloa during the elimination of the Fiji Bitter Wairiki Sevens yesterday. PICTURE:JONA KONATACI

A NEW champion will be crowned during this year’s 15th Fiji Bitter Wairiki 7s carnival on Taveuni.

Last year’s winners Tabadamu pulled out in the last minute because of unforeseen circumstances. Tournament co-ordinator Ioane Gade said a shift in the dates had an impact on the preparation of the tournament.

“It is very disappointing that Tabadamu had to pull out in the last minute but we’re glad teams stepped up and made an effort to be here,” he said.

“The rescheduling of the tournament had an impact on teams who had to pull out.

“A team from Australia also had to pull out, they had everything paid for but unfortunately they couldn’t make it.

” Gade said this year’s tournament was special because a new office for the Wairiki 7s committee was opened.

He said it was a big step for the committee to finally take a leap to be a parent body.

“We’re grateful to the parish which had been supporting us for the past years and now taking the bold step to have a committee is a big achievement.

“We’re also introducing a new trophy that will be played in the tournament and that is the Rodan Trophy. We dedicate this trophy to Pacific Paradise Sales and Corporate affairs general manager Joseph Rodan.

“He has done a lot for the sport of 7s rugby and has helped a lot of local tournaments like us and for that we’re grateful.

“We dedicate this tournament to him and his input to the Wairiki 7s tournament.”

A total of 32 men’s teams, eight women’s teams and 24 under-21 teams are taking part in the rugby 7s competition.

For volleyball, there are 20 men’s, eight women’s teams while netball has 10 women’s and five mixed teams.

A first for the tournament is soccer which has eight teams. The finals will be held today.

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