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Fijian rugby players’ beautiful Christian tribute to winning gold


@NBCOlympics | Twitter | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 08/11/21

These athletes had a more unusual reaction to their win -- and it's very moving.

When athletes win gold medals the immediate response is naturally one of jubilation. However, for Fiji’s rugby-seven team, the players had a more unusual reaction by breaking out in song with a stirring rendition of E Da SA Qaqa which means “We Are Winners Because Of This World.”

The song was a celebration not just of their sporting achievement, but of having overcome the many challenges and hardships that COVID has created on their islands in the south Pacific. The players have had to isolate from their families in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics, and haven’t seen their wives and children for five or six months.

Jerry Tuwai, the team captain, nearly gave up: “I have three kids, so it is really hard for me,” Tuwai shared in a press conference. “We have our ups and downs in camp. It’s a long story. I nearly jumped camp because I missed them and we are really close. That is why (Gareth Baber) is the coach – he grabbed me inside the camp, and he tied us together so we can continue the journey towards Tokyo.”

And even when they were finally Tokyo bound, the players’ plane was grounded so they ended up on a cargo flight along with frozen fish and other athletes making their way from various countries in the Pacific, as reported by Insider.

Thankfully the team’s determination and athletic skills paid off and they defended their 2016 gold from Rio. Their sheer gratitude is captured in their beautiful hymn below:

Their faith and strength is reflected in the words of their hymn that can be translated as follows:

We have overcome
We have overcome
By the blood of the lamb
And the word of the Lord
We have overcome

And in true Fijian style, the islanders went in to the streets to sing joyous hymns in recognition of their team’s sacrifice and victory.

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