OSEA Kolinisau will captain Fiji’s rugby sevens team in Rio de Janeiro as the Pacific Islands nation targets their first Olympic gold medal.
As back-to-back world champions, Fiji will start favourites in the men’s sevens competition.
The announcement of the 13-man squad was of such importance that it was made Saturday by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
Fiji’s England-born coach Ben Ryan chose the squad at the end of a four-week training camp, which included fitness exercises on the sand dunes of the world heritage site at Sigatoka, near the capital Suva.
Ryan said players had been “consumed by this one journey that we’re taking at the moment and sometimes you can’t remember what day it is.”
The squad received a police escort through Suva on their way to the reception where the announcement was made.
“I knew I was going to have difficult decision (in picking the team),” Ryan said.
Ryan added: “if they weren’t selected they thanked us, they shook our hands and they left with their heads held high.”
There were no major surprises in the squad, which includes 12 players and a travelling reserve. The team is heavy with experience of the World Sevens Series which Fiji has won in each of the last two years.
Ryan set aside the only possible controversy when he announced last week that former San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne would not be selected.
Hayne quit the NFL in a bid to win Olympic selection for his native Fiji but Ryan decided he did not have sufficient time to master the sport of sevens before the games.