Fiji puts Olympic sevens heroes on currency

fiji sevens rio olympics money currency dollar getty
Ben Ryan, Fiji PM Frank Bainimarama and sevens captain Osea Kolinisau (Fiji Government / Facebook)

We all know Fiji takes rugby seriously, but they may have taken their love of the sport to the next level, immortalising the country's Sevens coach on a 50c coin and $7 bill.

The tribute for English coach Ben Ryan is a celebration for taking the small island nation to its first-ever Olympic medal.

Ryan, the now former coach, tweeted photos of the currency which now bears his face, saying it "just shows you how much the Fijian people care and value its rugby. Awesome".

Ryan was also presented the Fiji Olympic Order by the Fiji Olympic Committee.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Barry Whiteside said the unique $7 note, the only one in the world, will mark the "memorable" occasion at the Rio Olympics last year - the first time the Sevens has been an official sport.

"Sevens rugby is a sport that is loved by all Fijians, a sport that we excel in and a sport that continues to unite us all," he says.

The image used on the $7 note (Getty)
The image used on the $7 note (Getty)

The banknote is unique in another way too - it is the country's first to have a horizontal image on one side, but vertical on the other.

It is the first note to have a separate vertical and horizontal design (Fiji government facebook)
It is the first note to have a separate vertical and horizontal design (Fiji Government / Facebook)
(Fiji Government / Facebook)
(Fiji Government / Facebook)

The note depicts a victorious Fiji team at the Olympics, Ryan being held up on one player's shoulders.

The vertical side features captain Osea Kolinisau running with ball in hand, the Fijian flag and Ryan sitting on the Sigatoka sand dunes.

Shortly after their historic win, the Bank announced they'd commission a limited edition painted commemorative coin, but "technological limitations" meant they had to reconsider their options.

One side of the coin features the team in a pre-game bonding pose (Fiji Government / Facebook)
One side of the coin features the team in a pre-game bonding pose (Fiji Government / Facebook)
The other side features Ben Ryan sitting in the Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji Government / Facebook)
The other side features Ben Ryan sitting in the Sigatoka sand dunes (Fiji Government / Facebook)

The new designs will be in circulation from Friday in Suva, but will eventually be distributed throughout the country.

While they'll be used in normal transactions, Mr Whiteside said they'll likely become collectors' items with only 2 million notes and 1 million coins produced.

Newshub.

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