Fiji has never won an Olympic medal, but with the addition of rugby sevens in the Summer Olympics for the first time, Fiji had their hopes in bringing home a medal. With rugby as the national sport of Fiji, and its people greatly passionate about it, a lot of pressure was on for their national rugby sevens team. And last Thursday, as the final whistle echoed in the arena, Fiji finally snatched an Olympic medal, a gold medal, and won over Britain with a final score of 43-7.

The Pacific island nation comprised of around 900,000 people rejoiced and embraced patriotism as they celebrated the glorious victory. It was Fiji’s rugby sevens debut in the Olympics, but their win, decades in the making, proved to the world that a tiny nation can do anything with great effort. And the story of passion and dedication behind the players makes the golden win all the more inspiring.

The tiny nation’s love for rugby has turned it into the country’s national sport. Most of Fiji’s sevens members have played the sport since childhood. Despite Fiji being one of the most developed economies in the Pacific, poverty is still a major concern for the country, and most players are affected by this problem. In Fiji, rugby is usually played using plastic bottles, flipflops, bundled T-shirts, or any object to replace the real ball. That is how the players learned to play rugby.

A touching video of Fijians celebrating their win can be viewed below:

When Cyclone Winston hit Fiji last February, great challenges faced the players as some of them lost their homes. Despite the lack of sources and funds, they were able to win 2015 and 2016 Sevens World Series titles with the help of their coach Ben Ryan.  The government also continued to strongly support the team and were able to increase the funds for them. Despite traces of tragedy from the disaster still lingering, the team was more motivated than ever to claim a medal in the Olympics for their people.The team’s dedication and national devotion to rugby has paid off and earned them a spot towards making history.

Fiji’s victory in the 2016 Summer Olympics marked historical greatness and a meaningful triumph among its people. With the team’s golden moment, the people of Fiji were able to draw resilience and inspiration. Now every corner of that small Pacific island is full of smiles and hopes.