Meet Tonga’s 2014 Commonwealth Heroes

Share...

Tong Li Panuve, Irene Prescott, Ifalemi Sau Paea Tonga's great swimmers at the 2014 Commonwealth Games

Tong Li Panuve, Irene Prescott, Ifalemi Sau Paea Tonga’s great swimmers at the 2014 Commonwealth Games


.
Tonga has 15 athletes competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games currently being held in Glasgow. They are a great group, ranging in age from 17 to 38. Each one struggled hard and gave their time, heart, tears and, in the case of the boxers, even their blood, for the honour of representing Tonga at the Games. Several have achieved personal bests at the Games, proving how much they have worked for Tonga. We are very proud of each and every one of them, and thank them for their sacrifice.

Get to know our heroes (and their results to date):

Uaine Fa Jr

Uaine Fa Jr

Uaine Fa
Men’s Super Heavy (+91kg)
24, born Auckland
Boxing Men’s Super Heavy (+91kg)
Results: Round of 16: FA 0 – AJAGBA (NGR) 3
Reason for taking up this sport
He grew up seeing his father do boxing training and watching rugby on television. He believed rugby caused too many injuries so he decided to become a boxer. (britishlionhearts.com, 2012)
Awards
He was chosen as flag bearer for Tonga at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. (tongadailynews.to, 17 Jul 2014)
Oscar Finau on Uaine Fa at the Games: “Cant really say enough about this kid. His character is really something else and his confidence in himself is unbelievable. He has such promising talent and with the right people, this kid can go a long way in boxing. He mixed it with the very favorable, Northern Ireland man and made him get on his bike and out worked him. The experience of the Northern Irish boxer gave him a slight advantage and so he came away with the win. But oscar left everything in there and showed the world true Tongan spirit. What a warrior! We are all proud of you brother!”
https://www.facebook.com/uaine.fa
https://twitter.com/UaineFa

Falekaono brothers

Falekaono brothers

Ikani Falekaono
25
Boxing Men’s Light Welter (64kg)
Results: Round of 32 FALEKAONO – MAXWELL (ENG) TKO

And

Sosefo Falekaono
Boxing Men’s Middle (75kg)
23, born Auckland
Results: Round of 32 FALEKAONO 0 – FINAU (NZL) 3
Uaine Fa on the Fighting Falekaono brother at the Games: “Falekaono brothers fought there hearts out. Ikani fought the very favorable Englishman and unfortunately came up short this time. His brother Sefo fought NZ Tongan boxer Eric Finau and put on a great, technical, entertaining fight. What a fight. Both brothers came away with a loss but can keep there chins up. They showed plenty of heart and courage.”
https://www.facebook.com/sefo.falekaono

Suliana Fate

Suliana Fate

Suliana Fate
Weightlifting Women’s +75kg
17, born Tofoa, Tongatapu
Results:
Rank 13
Snatch: 74KG
Clean & Jerk: 92KG
Most memorable sporting achievement
Winning bronze at the 2013 Pacific Games in Mata-Utu, Wallis and Futuna. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Hero
Tongan weightlifter Maama Lolohea. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most influential person in career
Her coach. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
“Keep reaching for the sky.” (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004532022537

Siueni Filimone

Siueni Filimone

Siueni Filimone
Athletics, Men’s 100m
19, Hihifo, Ha’apai
Results: Men’s 100m Round 1 – Heat 6, 10.72 (Rank: 6) [Personal Best!]
Start of sporting career
He began the sport in 2001 at age seven in Haapai, Tonga. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Reason for taking up this sport
He was chosen to represent his primary school in the annual district competition. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Hero
Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Most influential person in career
Coach Tevita Vaiola Fauonuku. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
“Today is the day.” (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)

Oscar Finau

Oscar Finau



Oscar Finau

Boxing Men’s Welter (69kg)
22, Tofoa, Tongatapu
Results:
Round of 32: FINAU 3 – DAVIDSON (ANT) 0
Round of 16: FINAU – DONNELLY (NIR) 3
Ben Taualii on Oscar Finau at the Games: “this guys unbelievable , absolute phenom!”
https://www.facebook.com/pila.tonga.1

Tong Li Panuve

Tong Li Panuve

Tong Li Panuve
Swimming Men’s 50m Freestyle, Men’s 100m Freestyle, Men’s 200m Freestyle, Men’s 400m Freestyle
17, born Tofoa, Tongatapu
Results:
Men’s 50m Freestyle – Heat 1 27.51 (Rank: 3)
Men’s 100m Freestyle – Heat 2 1:00.34 (Rank: 2)
Men’s 200m Freestyle – Heat 1 2:12.70 (Rank: 4)
Men’s 400m Freestyle – Heat 1 4:49.35 (Rank: 4)
Start of sporting career
He began swimming in 2003. (Athlete, 22 Jul 2014)
Reason for taking up this sport
His mother made him and his brother learn to swim. (Athlete, 22 Jul 2014; Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most memorable sporting achievement
Being selected for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. (Athlete, 22 Jul 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
https://twitter.com/tjpanuve

Irene Prescott

Irene Prescott

Irene Prescott
Swimming Women’s 50m Freestyle, Women’s 100m Freestyle, Women’s 50m Butterfly, Women’s 50m Backstroke
20, born Victoria, Australia
Results:
Women’s 50m Freestyle – Heat 4 28.77 (Rank: 7)
Women’s 100m Freestyle – Heat 2 1:05.51 (Rank: 8)
Women’s 50m Butterfly – Heat 3 31.98 (Rank: 8)
Women’s 50m Backstroke – Heat 3 34.66 (Rank: 8)
Start of sporting career
She began swimming at age 11 in Australia. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Reason for taking up this sport
She enjoyed being in the water. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Ambitions
To achieve a world record and to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most memorable sporting achievement
Competing at her first world championships, in 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Hero
Her father. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most influential person in career
Her sister Sarah. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
“Impossible is nothing.” (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)

Ifa Paea

Ifa Paea

Ifalemi Sau Paea
Swimming Men’s 50m Freestyle, Men’s 100m Freestyle, Men’s 50m Butterfly, Men’s 100m Butterfly
24, born Tofoa, Tongatapu
Results:
Men’s 50m Freestyle – Heat 6 24.34 (Rank: 6)
Men’s 100m Freestyle – Heat 6 52.76 (Rank: 2)
Men’s 50m Butterfly – Heat 7 25.40 (Rank: 8)
Men’s 100m Butterfly – Heat 5 55.62 (Rank: 7)
He began swimming in 1999 at age nine in Sydney, NSW, Australia. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most memorable sporting achievement
Winning bronze at the 2011 Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most influential person in career
His parents. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Superstitions / Rituals
He has a haircut before every major competition. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
“As above so below, as within so without.” (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
https://twitter.com/ifaonlyhad
https://www.facebook.com/ipaea?fref=nf

Penisimani Siolaa

Penisimani Siolaa



Penisimani Siolaa

Weightlifting Men’s 69kg
20, born Tofoa, Tongatapu
Results:
Men’s 69kg Group B Ranked 15
Snatch 90KG
Clean & Jerk 120KG
Start of sporting career
He began weightlifting in 2013 at age 19 in Tonga. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Reason for taking up this sport
He took up the sport to stop himself from getting into trouble in his village. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Ambitions
To win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most memorable sporting achievement
Winning three bronze medals at the 2014 Oceania and South Pacific Championships in Mont Dore, New Caledonia. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Hero
Coach Paula Coffa. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most influential person in career
Kisione Fakafanua. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
“Ain’t no mountain high enough.” (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
https://www.facebook.com/bennysiolaa?fref=ts

Ben Taualii with teamates at the Games

Ben Taualii with teamates at the Games

Benjamin Taualii
Boxing Men’s Light Heavy (81kg)
20, born Box Hill, New Zealand
Results: Round of 16 TAUALII – THORLEY (WAL) TKO
Uaine Fa on Benjamin Taualii at the Games: “Our youngest fighter fought a tough fighter today. Such an improved fighter from when i first saw the kid. He did us so proud although he did not come away with the win. He showed he can mix it at this level. Ben Taualii, there is always room for improvement and you will come back such a better fighter too.”
https://www.facebook.com/ben.taualii.9

Heamanongi Tuivai

Heamanongi Tuivai

Heamatangi Tuivai
Athletics Men’s 400m
24, Hihifo, Ha’apai
Results: Men’s 400m Round 1 – Heat 1 49.54 (Rank: 7)
Start of sporting career
He started in 2010 in Tonga. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Reason for taking up this sport
He decided on his own to try the sport. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Most memorable sporting achievement
“Completing the 400m in 48 seconds.” (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Hero
Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Most influential person in career
Coach Tevita Fauonuku. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
“Today is the day.” (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
https://www.facebook.com/heamanongi.tuivai

Team Tonga's marathoner Tongia Vakaafi achieved a personal best at the Commonwealth Games!

Team Tonga’s marathoner Tongia Vakaafi achieved a personal best at the Commonwealth Games! Thank you Tongia Vakaafi!

Tongia Vakaafi
Athletics Men’s Marathon
38, born Vaimalo, Vava’u
Results: Men’s Marathon 2:58:57 (Rank: 24) [A personal best!]
Start of sporting career
He began athletics at age six in Tonga at school. He took up competitive marathon running in 2002. (ksl.com, 09 Jul 2014)
Reason for taking up this sport
He always ran two to three miles to school as a young child. He became serious when he went to high school, and loves running long distance. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Most memorable sporting achievement
“Running the half marathon in one hour and 12 minutes in Utah in 2008.” (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Hero
He is inspired by the United States NBA basketball club Utah Jazz. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Most influential person in career
His family. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2014)
Early days
After his father had left the family when he was age eight, they struggled to put food on the table. He left school at age ten so he could try and find work to help support his mother and two sisters, but soon moved in with his uncle. Two years later his mother died of pneumonia, and he used running as an emotional outlet. He moved out of his uncle’s home at age 16 in 1991, and in 1995 decided to move to the United States in search of a better life. (ksl.com, 09 Jul 2014)
https://www.facebook.com/tongia.vakaafi.5

Wilford Vea

Wilford Vea

Wilford Vea
Weightlifting, Men’s 105kg
21, born Tofoa, Tongatapu
Results:
Rank 9
Snatch: 130KG
Clean and Jerk: 150KG
Start of sporting career
He began weightlifting in 2012 at age 20 in Tonga. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Reason for taking up this sport
He wanted to try something new. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Ambitions
To win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most memorable sporting achievement
Winning bronze at the 2013 Pacific Mini Games in Mata-Utu, Wallis and Futuna. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Hero
President of the United States Barrack Obama. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most influential person in career
His coach. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
“No pain, no gain.” (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)

Maria Zarka

Maria Zarka



Maria Zarka

Diving Women’s 3m Springboard, Women’s 1m Springboard
20, Honolulu, Hawaii
Results: Not yet competed
Member of national team since 2014 (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Start of sporting career

She began the sport in 2004 at age 10 in Hawaii, United States. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Reason for taking up this sport
Her family competed in aquatic sports. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Hero
US diver Greg Louganis. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Most influential person in career
Her parents. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
“One bounce at a time.” (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Awards
She was named National Collegiate Athletic Association [NCAA] Division III Diver of the Year in 2014. (Athlete, 10 Jun 2014)
Competing for Tonga
Although she was born in the United States, she chose to represent Tonga, the birthplace of her mother. (kenyoncollegianonline.com, 24 Apr 2014)
https://www.facebook.com/maria.zarka?fref=ts

Share...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*