Parents learn son will be an Olympian on social media

July 23, 2021 6:14 am

Fiji-born All Blacks 7s rep Amanaki Nicole's parents, Mr and Mrs Nicole

Fiji-born All Blacks 7s rep Amanaki Nicole started his rugby career at Mokosoi in Deuba before moving to New Zealand in 2002 when he was 10 years old.

Nicole is the son of University of the South Pacific lecturer Dr Robert Nicole and Raijieli Nicole from Joma, Naceva in Kadavu.

The proud parents didn’t know their son had made the Olympics playing squad until the news broke on social media on Wednesday afternoon, and he called them later to relay the message before going to have his dinner at the Games Village in Tokyo, Japan.

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Amanaki was initially named as a traveling reserve with All Blacks winger Caleb Clarke but after veteran Sam Dickson was injured, the 29-year-old was announced as a replacement because he’s a forward.

His mum recalls one day when they went for a parents’ interview at his school in Pacific Harbor and the teacher told them that Amanaki loves to be outdoors and that’s the happiest time for him.

Raijieli Nicole says his son was good at cricket, volleyball and even rugby as a kid while his best player was one of the All-Blacks greats.

She adds that she didn’t expect to hear the great news.

“I was in a meeting I had to go on mute, take the camera off, Robert was cooking, it was a real shock. Jonah Lomu was his idol, he had the Jonah Lomu hairstyle, he ate dalo and ika because Jonah Lomu ate all those food so right from an early age and we are so proud that he’s able to live his dream’.

Fiji-born All Blacks 7s rep Amanaki Nicole

Amanaki’s dad, Dr Nicole, is originally from Switzerland but raised in Fiji and went to Suva Grammar School where he met Raijieli.

He says Amanaki is always proud of his Fijian roots.

“I think he’s well-grounded in Fiji because when we left for New Zealand in 2002 he would have been 10-years-old, after that we came back and went to Raijieli’s village in Kadavu, in the village of Joma so he is well connected to his mum’s village in Fiji.”

Amanaki Nicole is the younger of two siblings and his parents say it’s not only a proud moment for them but for the extended family as well.

The All Blacks 7s are pooled with Australia, Argentina and South Korea.

The men’s competition will start next Monday.