In the island nation of Fiji, where rugby traditionally reigns supreme, a new sporting chapter unfolded earlier this year in January, as the nation ventured into uncharted territory: the FIH Hockey5s World Cup Oman 2024, their first ever appearance in a Hockey World Cup across all formats. With a blend of determination, passion, and a touch of island magic, Fiji's hockey teams embarked on a historic journey that would leave an indelible mark on the nation's sporting landscape.

Jerome Edwards, a stalwart of Fiji's men's team, reflects on the impact of their participation. "For us, just being included in a hockey World Cup was a win in itself," he states. Indeed, the tournament not only garnered pride among hockey enthusiasts but also captured the attention of corporate bodies, paving the way for potential partnerships to bolster the sport's development in Fiji. Speaking on the Hockey5s format, Jerome added: “We have shown that with the limited resources we have had on hand, we can make waves and this ripple effect, I hope, will push aspiring young Fijians or just any Fijian to pick up a hockey stick and try it out. I really believe Hockey5s is the way forward. The shortened version of the sport, with lesser required resources allows us to play to our strengths.”

Maxine Browne-Edwards echoes Jerome’s sentiments, emphasising the broader implications of Fiji’s debut on the global stage. “I truly believe it’s a stepping stone for future hockey players in Fiji to dream big and aim for international competitions like this one. It’s opened up new pathways for players and inspired future generations to not only play but also manage, officiate and train at the highest level,” she remarks. “The exposure garnered from the World Cup has sparked newfound enthusiasm among young players, injecting fresh energy into Fiji’s hockey community and will lead to advancements in coaching, infrastructure and support systems for hockey in Fiji.”


Tiara Dutta, who played a starring role in Fiji women's team’s campaign as they finished in 12th place in their first ever hockey World Cup appearance, attests to the tournament's impact on the sport's visibility. "Our participation has increased our sport's visibility," she affirms. “The surge in media coverage and sponsorship signifies a turning point for hockey in Fiji, igniting passion among players and fans alike, especially among junior players. The ability for us to participate in a World Cup has given junior players something to look forward to and work hard to achieve. We have had many junior players who start off playing hockey and then drift off to other sports in the past, but they see now that hockey offers a pathway to international exposure and success. This is only the beginning of the development of our sport.”

Reflecting on their journey, players identified areas for growth, emphasising the importance of tactical acumen and defensive prowess in the fast-paced world of Hockey5s. Despite the challenges, moments of triumph, like scoring against top-ranked teams, served as poignant reminders of Fiji's potential on the global stage. They all came to a similar conclusion that given their smaller player bases and recently expanding infrastructure, Hockey5s offers them the opportunity to put their best foot forward and compete with more traditionally established hockey nations. They believe that the faster pace of Hockey5s aligns well with their style of play as it emphasises quick decision-making, agility, and adaptability—qualities that are already natural in Fijian athletes.


Perhaps the most poignant aspect of Fiji's World Cup journey lies in the familial bonds that permeate the sport and the local culture. This was particularly true for Hector Smith Junior, alongside his brother Adrian, both of whom starred for the men’s team at the World Cup, but were also supporting spectators to their parents, who played pivotal roles with the Fiji women’s team, as their mother Senimili Smith managed the women's team and their father, Hector Smith Sr. coached them. The Smith family epitomised the spirit of unity and dedication that is at the base of Fiji's culture and fuels their hockey aspirations.

As the curtains closed on Fiji's inaugural FIH Hockey5s World Cup campaign, the echoes of their journey reverberated across the islands. With newfound momentum and a renewed sense of purpose, Fiji's hockey community stands poised to chart a course towards a brighter future through Hockey5s. Through unity, resilience, and unwavering passion, Fiji's hockey odyssey will inspire generations to come.