Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka. GETTY IMAGES

Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka won bronze in the 75-79 age category shot put at the 2024 Oceania Athletics Championships on home soil in Suva. Rabuka, 75, also finished fourth in the discus.

Not many world leaders can boast medals in international sporting competition but Rabuka, who represented his country in rugby union and athletics in his youth, made the podium in the Fijian capital.

Rabuka threw 7.09 metres to finish eighth overall in the Masters 65+ shot put on Wednesday, good enough for third place in the 75–79 age group ahead of two Australian competitors. On Monday, competing in the Masters 75+ discus, he had been sixth overall and fourth in the 75-79 category.

"I was delighted to have participated in the Men’s Masters Shot Put (M65+) in the 2024 Oceania Athletics Championships earlier today along with participants from around the region," Rabuka said on his Facebook page. "It was indeed a morale booster for me. Even at 75, I hope to inspire the younger generation to develop a habit of keeping fit and staying healthy."

He added, "On a lighter note, I am happy to report that I won Bronze, having thrown a distance of 7.09m in the competition," attaching a photo of him and his medal.

At the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, Rabuka competed in the hammer throw, shot put, discus and decathlon. He also played as a prop forward for the national rugby team before leading two military coups in 1987 which prompted the overthrow of the predominately Indo-Fijian government.

Nicknamed "Rambo" and seen as a hero to Fiji's indigenous population, Rabuka retired from the military to enter politics and served as prime minister from 1992-99. Having apologised in 2006 for his "democratically wrong" role in the 1987 coups, he took a break from politics and managed the Pacific Islands rugby union team on its European tour of 2008.

After a break from front-line politics of well over a decade, he became leader of the opposition before his new party - the People's Alliance - led a successful coalition after the December 2022 general election. Long-time premier Frank Bainimarama was ousted with Rabuka becoming PM for a second time.