Olympic gold fever hits Fiji

By Ripeka Timutimu

The Fijian town of Nadi has erupted in celebration after the Fijian National sevens team won the gold medal final at the Rio Olympics.

The country came to a standstill at 10am local time as the Fijian team took on Great Britain in the final.

Te Kāea reporter Ripeka Timutimu is on the ground in Fiji. An airport employee told her that even they weren't immune to the sevens hysteria, "The whole place was shut down, we all watched it here together then went back to work"

For the past 3 days, the Olympic sevens has featured prominently in the Fijian times. This morning's headline read 'Darlings of the Sevens' and showed a picture of the Fijian team taking on New Zealand in yesterday's semi-final.

On the ground in Nadi, cheers and applause could be heard as the Fijian team trounced a bewildered looking Great Britain team 43-7.

Local Shalveer Singh Aujla told Te Kāea, "People were stopped at the supermarkets, streets or anywhere they could find a tv, and cheered for our first gold medalists. It is a very emotional time for us here in Fiji, as we have put the Pacific on the world map."

Following the game was a stream of car horn tooting and celebration in a country that worships the sevens game.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama congratulated the Fijian coach, Ben and Ryan and his team saying, " A wonderful reception awaits our boys when they arrive back in Fiji. Never before has the Fijian spirit soared so high as it does today. Never have we stood so tall as a nation. So let us rededicate ourselves to the task of building our beloved Fiji. One nation, one people, playing an even greater role in the region and the world."

It's not known yet when the official welcome for the team will take place.