Family happy with Fiji PM’s pledge of $1m package for sevens teams

Fiji sevens captain Jerry Tuwai's family
Fiji sevens captain Jerry Tuwai's family in a jovial mood after hearing the good news from the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday. From left: Seruwaia Vualiku (mother), Noelani Tuwai (daughter), Mereani Tuwai (wife) and Jone Tuwai (son). Image: Jona Konataci/Fiji Times

By Paulini Curuqara in Suva

Fiji Olympic rugby sevens captain Seremaia “Jerry” Tuwai’s parents couldn’t hold back their tears and kept thanking God for the blessings they have received.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday announced on his Twitter page that the government was planning a $1 million (NZ$690,000) reward package for the national team.

A special package only for captain and two-time Olympian Jerry Tuwai includes a house.

His parents were emotional and hugged each other when they were asked how did they feel about these plans from the prime minister.

“Our prayers have been answered,” Vunisa said

“We always pray for our family and for Jerry’s life. The hard work, the pain the struggle has finally been answered.

“I told my wife before the team played in Tokyo that whoever walks in Gods sight will be blessed and God has indeed blessed my family.”

Duty to his country
Vunisa said that he had encouraged Tuwai to take up an overseas contract and he always replied that he had a duty to his country.

His mum, Serewaia Vualiku, said for the family to be away from each for five months was really hard.

“It wasn’t like this before, even in 2016,and we both knew that within that period he wanted to see his children. He is close to his family, especially his kids.

“But we kept encouraging him never to give up, the road hasn’t ended yet. It’s his dream and he should focus on his dream.

“For us as parents we know he is chosen for this. This is his destiny and God gave him this and we are grateful for his everlasting love on my family.

“For his children they are all counting the days when they will finally get to see their father.

“As we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement, we also give thanks to the Almighty that without him we will never achieve this.”

Grateful for support
The family is indeed grateful to the support from their families, friends, their neighbours and everyone who has been supporting the national team and Tuwai.

As they wait for his arrival from quarantine, the family plan to hold a small family celebration.

“With the what we are going through now unfortunately we cannot hold a big celebration compared with what was done in 2016 but we will celebrate his achievement as a family.”

The pledged package covers both the men’s sevens, which won gold at Tokyo, and the women’s team Fijiana, which won bronze.

Paulini Curuqara is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

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