Fiji has dropped its threat to boycott the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow over the exclusion of its rugby sevens team, with sports boss Reg Sanday saying other athletes couldn’t be deprived a chance to compete.
The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee met late Wednesday to consider a boycott after being told its medal-favourite sevens team cannot take part in the July Games.
Sanday told reporters following the meeting that most delegates believed Fiji should move on and participate.
Fiji had been barred from the Commonwealth Games following a 2006 military coup but was readmitted two weeks ago ahead of a return to democratic elections planned for later this year.
However, the Games draw for rugby sevens had already been made with the qualification rules making no provision for late entries. The Fiji netball team has been shut out for the same reason.
Sanday told the FijiLive website that Fiji rugby and netball officials fully supported the move to go to Glasgow and want the country to move forward through sports.
“It is just unfortunate that our sevens team and our netters will miss out due to the late announcement,” he said.
The Fiji sevens team is currently preparing for this weekend’s world series tournament in Hong Kong where coach Ben Ryan said the Commonwealth Games row would not detract from their ultimate target of the 2016 Olympic Games.
“There’s no doubt we’d have a very realistic gold medal chance in Glasgow, but not playing isn’t that big a disappointment,” Ryan told the South China Morning Post.
“What’s more important is getting Olympic qualification so it gives us a chance to have a good pre-season instead.”
The top four teams in the Sevens World Series next year will get automatic promotion to the 2016 Rio Olympics.