Teenager eyes Rugby in Fiji

Teenager Ahmad Khan hopes to join the Fiji Rugby team and become a national and international star in not too distant a future.

Unlike many of his peers and seniors, the 18-year-old shows more proclivities towards Rugby than Soccer, which is a passion among Fiji Indians.

That is probably because Ahmad was born, raised and educated in New Zealand, where Rugby is almost a religion.

With his father owning the Akbar Buses Limited in Rakiraki, visits to Fiji are an annual feature, at each of which the urge to wear the national jumper and play for his home country grew stronger.

Two years ago, he registered his interest in joining the national training squad with High Performance Unit Manager Talemo Waqa.

His joy knew no bounds when he recently received an invitation to join the Under 20 camp and undergo proper training in the game.

“It was a great experience. I not only started learning Rugby properly but also understood the significance of teamwork. Living together with other players and coaches was unique in many ways,” he said.

Ahmad found the Rugby environment, together with the camp and training different to what he has heard and experienced in New Zealand.

“You have to take the heat but after two camps, I am used to the local environment which is great. I hope to wear the ‘Flying Fijians’ jumper by 2015,” he said.

That may be five years away, but Ahmad hopes to secure a place in the National U20 squad before he turns 19 in May.

“I will work hard to achieve my aim and make it into the national team.

“There are many potential players in Fiji but I know that I would be among the boys in the national team in the near future,” he said with much hope and confidence.

Like most Fiji Indians, he has retained the love for Fijian food and devours with delight typical delicacies such as dalo, cassava, fish and beef.

His parents were supportive of his move towards the Fiji Rugby team, although his mother was initially reluctant in letting the young man go from her sight.

But she was equally keen to see her son realise his cherished dream and hence relented.

“I understand that Ahmad has a lot more to learn and become a Rugby star,” she said.

Ahmad is the third child in the family and has four siblings. While his elder brother plays soccer in New Zealand, his younger sister is adept at netball at her school.

Even in his formative years, Ahmad showed a special interest and talent in Rugby.

He has been playing for the Ponsonby Club since 2006 and has represented Lynfield College, where he was enrolled as a student.

Ahmad hopes that he would have a surprise for his family when he returns to New Zealand after the national trials in the next few weeks.

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