6 Aug 2016

Sport: Fiji footballers outclassed in Olympic opener

10:00 am on 6 August 2016

The Fiji men's football team faded after a strong start to suffer a 8-0 drubbing by Korea in their Rio Olympics opener.

Goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau pulled off a series of impressive saves as the Olympic newcomers frustrated their more fancied opponents in the early exchanges.

Midfielder Ryu Seungwoo broke the deadlock in 32nd minute but Fiji went into halftime only one goal behind.

Kwon Changhoon doubled Korea's advantage in the 62nd minute and bagged his second a minute later as the Asian giants struck five goals in just 15 minutes.

Two more in the final minutes completed the rout but Team Fiji Chef de Mission Cathy Wong was still proud of their performance.

"The first half they defended very very well - second half didn't go too well but I'm very very proud of the boys. They've done very well considering that they are the first Fiji team to showcase at the Rio Olympics."

Cathy Wong said the men's and women's sevens teams have arrived in the Athletes Village and Team Fiji was looking forward to the opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium.

"Our flag-bearer is rugby sevens captain Osea Kolinisau. Obviously that was a very very popular choice and that was the standout choice so it was very obvious who it was going to be," she said.

The Fiji women's sevens team play their opening pool matches on Sunday morning against the United States and Australia.

Coaching Director of Women’s Rugby in Fiji, Chris Cracknell.

Coaching Director of Women’s Rugby in Fiji, Chris Cracknell. Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie

Both teams finished above Fiji in the Women's World Series but head coach Chris Cracknell believes the one-off nature of the Olympics means form is irrelevant.

"You know that's parked, that's done and everyone's talking about Australia going in as favourites etc etc but in sevens anything can happen on any day."

"Colombia could quite easily turn us over, we could quite easily turn anyone else over in the Olympics. It's a one-off tournament so there's going to be some freak results," he said.

Fijian table tennis player Sally Yee will also begin her Olympic campaign overnight in the women's singles preliminary round.