Fiji

Semi Kunatani
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Olympic rugby champion arrested for breaking coronavirus quarantine

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Fiji Rugby Union has criticized two of its top professional players who have been arrested for failing to self-isolate amid the coronavirus pandemic after returning to Fiji from overseas.

Fiji media named one of the players as backrower Semi Kunatani who plays for the London-based Harlequins club. He was a member of the Fiji Olympic champion sevens team from the Rio Games. The other player has not yet been named.

Both players returned to Fiji via Singapore. They were arrested for failing to observe a 14-day quarantine designed the prevent the spread of Covid-19. Fiji has reported 12 cases.

“We strongly condemn the behavior of these two players and their disregard for lawful instructions to self-isolate themselves,” said John O’Connor, chief executive or Fiji rugby.

“Such irresponsible behavior is totally unacceptable and we support the actions of the police in arresting these two players and any further action taken against them. Fiji Rugby will take appropriate disciplinary actions against the professional rugby players, including reporting this highly irresponsible behavior to their clubs and World Rugby.”

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama highlighted the case of the players during his regular news briefing on Sunday.

MORE: Most decorated U.S. female Olympian on front line of coronavirus fight

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Fiji puts Olympic champion rugby team on dollars, coins

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SUVA, Fiji (AP) — The government of Fiji is issuing two million $7 banknotes to commemorate the Pacific island nation’s Olympic gold medal victory in rugby sevens last year in Rio de Janeiro.

The banknotes, which are legal tender, were released through bank branches on Friday.

A $7 Fijian banknote is worth approximately $3.35.

Fiji’s reserve bank will also issue one million 50-cent coins with the image of England-born Ben Ryan, who coached Fiji to its first Olympic gold medal, on one side, and Fiji players hoisting the Olympic trophy on the other.

Announcing the release of the notes and coins on Friday, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fiji’s gold medal success showed that despite its small size, it could compete with the best in the world.

Ryan, who no longer is the Fijian sevens coach, posted a photo on Twitter of the coin with his image showing, and tweeted: “Fiji’s new 50c Coin – what a journey I’ve had.”

Ryan also tweeted a photo of the $7 note, adding “just shows you how much the Fijian people care and value its rugby. Awesome.”

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MORE: U.S. Olympic rugby player faces cancer again

Fiji Olympic rugby coach given 3 acres of land, special name

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Olympic coaches don’t receive gold medals. Fiji Olympic men’s rugby coach Ben Ryan may have gotten something better anyway.

Ryan’s reward for guiding Fiji to its first Olympic medal in any sport — gold in rugby sevens’ Olympic debut — included three acres of land in Fiji and a new name, Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara, according to Fijian reports.

Ryan, a London native, is stepping down as coach of the Fijian team. The 44-year-old coached the team for three years after leading the England national sevens team for six years.

MORE: Fiji wins nation’s first Olympic medal

Posted by Fijivillage on Monday, August 29, 2016