22 Jun 2016

Sport: Olympic expectations building for Fiji

1:16 pm on 22 June 2016

The Fiji Olympic Committee is managing the weight of expectations as it targets a first ever Olympic medal.

Fiji will send its biggest ever Olympic squad to Rio in August, comprising 53 athletes and 35 officials.

Australia and Fiji huddle before their clash at the Clermont-Ferrand Sevens.

Fiji and Australia's women's sevens teams will both be in Rio. Photo: World Rugby

For the first time the country has qualified athletes in team events, in football and rugby, with the men's sevens team one of the favourites to win gold after defending their World Series title in May.

Fiji celebrate back to back World Series titles.

Fiji celebrate back to back World Series titles. Photo: World Rugby / Martin Series Lima

Team Fiji Chef de Mission Cathy Wong said expectations are high.

"It's not only from the pressure and expectations from Fiji but within the Pacific region and our biggest challenge right now is trying to manage and make sure this pressure does not make us fly above the ground. We need to keep our feet planted firmly on the ground - hence the rugby team going into lock-down mode," she said.

"We've made sure we've left no stones unturned, as far as giving our rugby team the support that they need for a high-performance support system that they need to make sure that they get everything they need to perform come Rio."

Cathy Wong said the focus on the sevens teams has allowed other athletes to go under the radar and they will also get the benefit of using top-level facilities.

"With our lockdown mode the other sports have access to these high performance facilities and this has created a wonderful opportunity and atmosphere within Team Fiji. This has never been done before - in the past usually each individual sport, whether it is athletics, sailing, weightlifting, they have their own training (but) this time all our sports will be exposed to the high performance environment that we are creating for the sevens men's and women's teams."

Cathy Wong said Fiji's mission in Rio is to win the country's first ever Olympic medal and says gold would be a bonus.

Team Fiji Chef de Mission Cathy Wong.

Team Fiji Chef de Mission Cathy Wong. Photo: Facebook