Gospel Primary School rugby sevens team in Fiji’s capital city, Suva, are training hard in their quest to win a medal at the Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools (AIMS) games in September.
The AIMS games are an annual sporting event held in Tauranga, New Zealand and is the biggest sporting event for 11-13 year olds in New Zealand.
Seru Suinumila, the 13-years-old captain of the school team is relishing the opportunity to face the best intermediate-aged rugby talent in New Zealand and finding out if he’s the real deal or not.
“We’ve been training really hard and we’re all very excited,” Suinumila was quoted as saying by 1 stuff. “We want to meet a lot of other people and we want to be famous rugby players and hopefully get scholarships in New Zealand.”
This year will be the first time Fiji and a Pacific Island team will be competing at the rugby sevens event at the AIMS games where 11,500 athletes compete across 23 sporting codes.
Sovaia Finau, a parent of one of the schoolkids travelling to New Zealand, said the parents and staff were just as excited as the kids.
“Our team here is so fortunate – it’s a big opportunity for the boys, not only for the rugby but for education as well,” she said.
AIMS Games tournament director Vicki Semple is happy with the increasing interest from Pacific Island schools and said their participation will increase competition in the AIMS games
“Sport is such a universal language and it’s also such an amazing tool at breaking down social and ethnic barriers,” Semple said.
“Having international teams like Gospel Primary involved not only adds to the prestige of the tournament but also shows New Zealand teams just how lucky they are to have the opportunities they do. And hopefully the support and passion Gospel’s team bring will rub off on their fellow athletes.”