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Gold prompts Fiji U-turn on flag change

2016-08-18 03:53
Fiji flag (Getty Images)

Suva - Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama scrapped plans on Thursday to change his country's flag as the feel-good factor envelops the Pacific nation following a first Olympic gold medal.

Bainimarama had been keen to dump the existing standard which incorporates the British flag in its top left corner and replace it on Constitution Day, September 7, with a new design.

But he said it was "deeply moving" to see the way Fijians rallied around the flag after their Olympic victory in rugby sevens.

"While I remain convinced personally that we need to replace some of the flag's colonial symbols ... the flag should not be changed in the foreseeable future," he said.

Bainimarama said it was a time to reset national priorities as Fiji continues to recover from the battering it took from Cyclone Winston earlier in the year.

"The cost of any flag change is better spent at the present time assisting Fijians back on their feet," he said.

"I urge every Fijian to display our flag when our victorious sevens team returns to Fiji on Sunday and during our special national holiday on Monday.

"It is a time to celebrate not only their remarkable achievement but our collective unity and national sense of purpose."

Fiji whipped former colonial power Great Britain 43-7 in the Rio sevens final.

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