By KEITH PUARIA
THE recently completed Bougainville Black Orchid Rugby Sevens tournament ended with sizzling action on the field in pouring rain, but the real deluge came from the announcement of the raising of its purse to K100,000 for the next Black Orchid 7s, by Governor Fidelis Semoso.
Semoso made the announcement at the Reasons Bar, where Bougainville President James Tanis, the Bougainville rugby fraternity, sponsors, the private sector, and representatives from the UN Corps, gathered to welcome PNG Sevens coach and Fiji sevens great Waisale Serevi and visiting teams.
“I welcome you all, and Serevi, you’ve made us proud, just being here,” Semoso said.
“In trying times, we’ve always dug deep, and this is because of the importance this tournament has on the rebuilding process of Bougainville. I want to make the Black Orchid tournament the best maybe the biggest in the South Pacific,” Semoso, also Bougainville rugby patron, added.
The regional member committed K100,000 of his grant this year to the next tournament, also challenging Tanis to step in and assist.
Semoso also called on the visiting teams to return stronger, with the possibility of invitations to teams in Fiji and the Pacific.
Tanis, while congratulating rugby chief Peter Tsiamalili Jr and his executive, also welcomed Serevi.
“I welcome you to Bougainville, we are proud to have someone of your calibre come to our island and support rugby union and the province here,” Tanis said.
….We fought for 10 years, and we’ve been rebuilding for another eleven years, rugby sevens has been a part of this process over the last four to five years of its being”, President Tanis said.
Tsiamalili thanked President Tanis and Governor Semoso for their support, clearly overwhelmed by the success and road the tournament had come.
“The Black Orchid is a vehicle for peace, it will continue. God-willing, we will get better”.
He thanked Governor Semoso for the commitment, and Serevi for his presence.
Present too was ABG Deputy Speaker Francesca Semoso, who was also MC during the finals.