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Late Olympic sevens call-up spurred on by family suffering in Fiji

It is an emotional time for All Blacks Sevens player Amanaki Nicole.

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Amanaki Nicole will have the thoughts of his family and friends in Fiji spurring him on in Tokyo. Source: 1 NEWS

A late call-up to the Olympic squad was a bittersweet moment for the 29-year-old, as he replaced his flatmate Sam Dickson who was ruled out through injury.

But it provided a light in a dark time for his family and friends in Covid-stricken Fiji. His mum Reijeli telling 1 NEWS they were "extremely proud" of Nicole, their pride pushing him on in Tokyo.

"Not going to lie I got a bit emotional when I found out my friends know a lot of close friends that've passed away to the pandemic," Amanaki said.

Amanaki Nicole will have his native Fiji on his mind when he takes to the field in Tokyo. Source: Photosport

"I just try to bottle those emotions and try to use them as motivation for me to give them something to be happy about, seeing their son right now or nephew or whoever’s watching, yeah that’s how I'm going to use all those emotions or try to it's pretty tough."

It's a dream come true for the forward who grew up idolising Jonah Lomu. He admitted he was "lost for words" knowing he was going to be competing at the Olympics.

"I remember my first time walking into the change room I was like wow there's Tim Mikkelson, Scott Curry, now Olympic Games, I'm an Olympian, [it's] unbelievable really."