Asaeli ‘The Tank’ Tuivuaka fuelled by the loss of his father and brother

By Michael Hudson

Fiji Sevens’s rising star Asaeli Tuivuaka desire to make it to the top is fuelled by the tragedies he has suffered in life, he said in an interview with the Fiji Sun.

Tuivuaka lost his father in 2005 while he was still in primary school and in 2011 his brother – also a sevens player – passed away. His grief almost led him to giving up rugby altogether but he persevered and found solace in the sport.

The 23-year-old made his debut this year and has been widely touted as one of the stars for the future. He has been nicknamed by HSBC Rugby Sevens Series commentators Sean Maloney and Karl Te Nana as “The Tank” because of his robust style of play.

Tuivuaka said his brother’s ambition was to play for the national team and that he’s fulfilling his dream on his behalf.

“I nearly quit the sport when my brother Mario Senimoli died in 2011 while training with the Tabadamu sevens team,” Tuivuaka was quoted as saying by the Fiji Sun. “I also could not finish my year 11, so I returned to the village to help my mother [Vitorina Cakaunivalu] in the yaqona farm. Rugby was always something I was good at so I continued playing and I thank God for giving me the talent.

“My brother also wanted to play for the national sevens team but never got the chance, so I am completing his dream. I always just tried to work the hardest.

The Tank said he looked up to his father and brother and said both of them advised him to make the most of his God-given talents, a nugget of wisdom he himself would give to other players.

“My brother and father’s deaths really affected me because they were my role models. Nothing is impossible if you work hard,” he said.

“Make use of the rugby talent God has given you and don’t look back. Follow your dreams. That was something my dad and brother taught me and that is one advice I will also give anyone trying to join the sevens team.”

Tuivuaka is hoping to represent Fiji at the 2020 Olympic games in Japan and help the nation defend Rio gold but will have to focus on the Pacific Games in Samoa next month, where Fiji will defend the gold medal.

Main photo: World Rugby

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