Vakasama will be lining up against some of the best in the world this evening at 10:30pm Fiji time. He will be in Heat 1 of the Men’s 200m Breaststroke and currently has the fastest entry time compared to other swimmers in his heat.

Tokyo Olympics will be one of Taichi Vakasama’s greatest sporting highlights in his colorful repertoire of his swimming career.

In the Fiji Swimming Community, Vakasama has become a household name these past couple of years. Always aiming to give his best in every single race and at any single competition. Apart from the multiple records he has under his name, Vakasama was also part of Team Fiji to the Pacific Games in 2019 that saw Fiji win its greatest number of gold medals in the sport of swimming.

Prior to that, Vakasama and Herbert Rabua historically reached the semifinals of the Men’s 100m breaststroke at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Australia.
But what everyone forgets is that Vakasama was the first ever Fijian Swimmer to win a medal at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, Bahamas. Competing in the 200m breaststroke, Vakasama touched the wall less than a second ahead of PNG’s Ryan Maskelyne.

And as fate would have it, Ryan Maskelyne of PNG is also in the same heat tonight when they take to the blocks at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Ryan and Taichi have been rivals since 2017, their last encounter was in 2019 at the Pacific Games where Ryan finished second to Taichi.

So, it came as no surprise that Vakasama was chosen to carry the Fiji flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympics after 7’s Rugby star Jerry Tuwai opted out last minute due to health concerns by the Fiji Rugby officials.

These Olympics will hold a special place in Taichi’s heart as he will be competing in his motherland. Taichi was born in Saitama, the most populated city in the Prefecture of Saitama, just north-west of the capital, Tokyo.

In the months leading up to the Olympics, Taichi had to resort to training in the ocean after the Olympic Pool, Aquatic Centre and Nadi Sports Club pool were closed due to Covid. But he still maintained his dedication and if anything, it turned him into a more determined swimmer.

Story by: Fiji Swimming (27/07/2021)

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