If you are a lover of sports, Fiji is an entirely different kind of paradise because whether you are interested in participating or simply watching local sports, there is no shortage of sports to see and play. When you think of sports in Fiji, the very first things that come to mind is Rugby. In Fiji, Rugby, particularly 7s rugby, is followed by the locals with a fervent adoration that is unlike anything that you have ever seen in any part of the world. As such, Rugby is the national sport of Fiji although other sports such as football are played widely and popularly.
Sports in Fiji
The sports culture in Fiji is as diverse as the people themselves; however, the beauty of it all is that people often put their racial and cultural differences aside for a common interest. Numerous sports are played all over Fiji, each with their own cult following. Popularly played sports in Fiji include:
Golf is played widely in many resorts and country clubs in the country. Golf in Fiji was made popular by Fiji athlete Vijay Singh. Golf fans are never disappointed when they come to Fiji because the islands have some of the most pristine golf courses that offer magnificent views of the lagoons, rainforests, and oceans. There is an abundance of courses to choose from and various tournaments to experience on your trip.
Soccer has grown in reputation in Fiji and can, in fact, be considered the second most followed sport in Fiji. If you love and appreciate soccer, you are in luck because Fiji has a competitive soccer league that is made up of 23 clubs. Locals follow both local and international soccer faithfully with the national soccer team taking part in international competitions such as the FIFA qualifying rounds of the World Cup.
Water-related sports such as surfing and sailing are also popular. Surfing is a popular sport in Fiji, owing to the presence of the ocean. Surfing was popularized in the country by Tony Philips.
Netball is also played regularly in Fiji. The country started off with a women’s netball team, however, the sport has grown to also include a men’s team. Netball has a dedicated fan base as well having been ranked 7th internationally.
Rugby is by far the most celebrated of all sports in Fiji, and it is almost met with a level of religious fanaticism. Rugby forms an intricate component of Fijian culture because you cannot drive anywhere without seeing locals playing or practicing in the fields. There are over 80,000 registered players in Fiji, which makes up almost 10 percent of the Fiji population.
In the 1970s and the 1980s, Hockey was a very dominant sport and highly popular in Fiji. Stadiums filed up very quickly on the weekends as everybody wanted to see the matches. Still a popular sport, for some reason it has not seen growth as the other sports have, even the Fiji Team is still quite strong and internationally successful.