APIA - World rugby sevens champions Manu Samoa returned home yesterday to a joyous celebration of their achievement.
Thousands of Samoans gathered at the Mulinuu Independence Grounds yesterday to celebrate the team's recent World Championship title.
Monday was declared a public holiday in honour of the Manu sevens players.
"This is a historical moment for our nation, and we should celebrate our heroes, our sons and the pride of Samoa," said Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi.
"This is a day worthy of our attention, worthy of the history books, worthy of note in the records of this humble nation of ours," Tuilaepa said while moving a motion to suspend Parliament.
The Manu Samoa Sevens players marched from the centre of Apia towards the Mulinuu grounds, led by the Police Band, and followed by hundreds of supporters and school children.
They were greeted by the Head of State, His Highness Tupua Tamasese Efi, and Masiofo Filifilia in front of Parliament before being welcomed and congratulated by the Prime Minister.
At the end of the official speeches, the players were presented with certificates by the Government of Samoa to honour their contribution to the nation.
"These will be framed and display for all to see at the Museum of Samoa, because you made history," Tuilaepa said proudly.
As each player was called up, village supporters cheered for them, with current captain Lolo Lui receiving the most applause from the crowd, closely followed by Uale Mai.