Fiji PM wins international athletics medal, at 75

On Wednesday, the 75-year-old prime minister of Fiji turned back time by taking home a bronze medal from an international sports competition.

In his youth, Sitiveni Rabuka represented Fiji in rugby and athletics. At the Oceania championships in Suva, he placed third in his age group for the shot put.

While it is not unusual for world leaders to compete in sports, winning a medal in an international tournament is quite uncommon.

With a throw of 7.09 meters, Rabuka claimed his bronze in the 75-79 category for the Oceania region, trailing two Australian competitors.

“Even at 75, I hope to inspire the younger generation to develop a habit of keeping fit and staying healthy,” he posted on his Facebook page.

“It was indeed a morale booster for me,” Rabuka added, alongside a picture of him holding the medal.

The septuagenarian had previously missed another medal on Monday, by finishing fourth for his age in the discus.

It’s 50 years since the politician represented Fiji in the hammer throw, shot put, discus and decathlon at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.

He also scrummed down as a prop forward for the national rugby team.

A coup-maker turned politician, Rabuka is an ex-soldier who returned to the premiership in 2022 after a 23-year hiatus.

The former lieutenant colonel led two coups in 1987, earning the nickname “Rambo” by seizing power after troops took over parliament on his signal.

He retired from the military to enter politics, taking his no-nonsense style of command from the parade ground to parliament.

He was elected prime minister in 1992 and held power until he was defeated at the 1999 polls.

Rabuka returned to office as head of the coalition government following elections in December 2022.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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