September 11 - The head of the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) has claimed he remained optimistic that the country will be allowed to take part in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Mike Hooper, the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), appeared to have dashed the country's slim hopes when he confirmed that a country that is suspended is not allowed to compete.

He said: "It is unlikely they will be able to compete, unless Fiji’s status with the Commonwealth changes.

“Should that change then clearly we would do everything physically possible to ensure their participation, because they would be a member of the Commonwealth.

“That would apply no matter what country it was.”

Fiji is facing exclusion from the Games in the India capital after their membership of the Commonwealth was suspended earlier this month because its military dictatorship have refused to hold elections.

But Bill Gavoka, the chairman of the FRU, claimed he is hopeful that Fiji will be allowed to compete.

Fiji would be one of the favourites for a gold medal in the rugby sevens if they take part.

Gavoka said: "Dialogue should continue between Fiji and the Commonwealth because sevens rugby is the only sport from Fiji that can win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

"Sevens rugby is on the verge of being included in the Olympics and it can play a major role in next Games in India.

"I pray that we will be able to compete."