Fiji veteran Semi ‘The Beast’ Kunatani sets sights on 2020 Olympics

By Michael Hudson

Olympic-winning veteran Semi Kunatani says he hopes to represent Fiji at the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan.

He played a key part in Fiji’s gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games as he featured in all six matches and put in an impressive performance in the final against Great Britain, playing a significant role in four tries of the first half.

He was eventually named in Rio 7s Dream Team. Fiji have already secured qualification to the 2020 Olympic games as they finished top of the standings in the HSBC World Sevens Series and Kunatani wants to be part of the team who will defend the gold in Japan next year.

Popularly dubbed ‘The Beast’, the powerful forward is known for his devastating tackles and line breaks. The 28-year-old switched to 15s in 2015 when he signed with Toulouse in the French T14 but will have his Olympic hopes bolstered by the fact that Fiji Sevens head coach Gareth Baber said he might recall some members of the squad who won in Rio.

Speaking to Fiji Sun after a gruelling session at the Sigatoka sand dunes, Kunatani said representing Fiji at the Tokyo Olympics is part of his plans but noted that his inclusion into the squad depends on the coaching staff.

“It’s also one of my plans to be part of the sevens team for the Olympic Games next year. But it’s up to the officials if they give us the opportunity,” he was quoted as saying. “The opportunity to play rugby at an international level such as Olympic Games only comes once.

“While I am still young I have to make use of every opportunity that comes my way.

Kunatani debuted for Fiji in 2013 Dubai Sevens tournament and one of his highs in the national team was when he scored 40 tries in the 2014-15 world series season.

Main photo: YouTube

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