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Seven Tongan athletes bound for Rio Olympics
11:04 pm GMT+12, 21/07/2016, Tonga

Seven athletes will represent Tonga at the Rio Olympic Games starting on 5 August, competing in the fields of Archery, Track, Swimming and Taekwondo.
 
Tonga Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (TASANOC) have confirmed the athletes representing Tonga are:
 
    Archery - Karoline Tatafu, Arne Jensen
    Athletics - Siueni Filimone, Taina Halasima
    Swimming - 'Amini Fonua, Irene Prescott
    Taekwondo - Pita Taufatofua
 
Karoline Tatafu and Arne Jensen each qualified for the men’s and women’s individual recurve with top four finishes at the Oceania Archery Championship Qualification Tournament held in Nuku’alofa in April this year.
 
Sprinters, Siueni Filimone and Taina Halasima will enter the men’s and women’s 100m sprint as wild cards. Both sprinters have competed overseas.
 
In swimming, ‘Amini Fonua will compete in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke and Irene Prescott will compete in the Women’s 50m free style. ‘Amini Fonua is the only athlete out of this team to have represented Tonga at the 2012 Olympics in London and was Tonga’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony. 'Amini is no stranger to competing and most recently won three gold medals at the 2015 Pacifc Games held in Papua New Guinea.
 
Tonga’s first ever Taekwondo athlete in the Olympics, Pita Taufatofua, qualified for the Men’s +80kg division when he won the Oceania Taekwondo Olympic Qualification beating his New Zealand opponent by one point in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in February this year. Pita has also been named as the flag bearer for Team Tonga this year at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.
 
There have been funding challenges leading up to the Rio Olympics with TASANOC going through a series of administration and financial problems.
 
The athletes however, have managed to gain community support through various fundraising events to help with individual costs at the Olympics.
 
Officials accompanying the athletes to Rio are Team Tonga Rio 2016 Chef de Mission, Michael Bloomfield, Vice President of TASANOC, Team Doctor Dr. Sione Latu, Team Physio Alison Donnan, Team attaché Mr Paul Bragiel, Representative of TASANOC President, Lord Vaea and Interim Secretary General-CEO, Takitoa Taumoepeau and team official/s for each sport.  
 
The Chef de Mission and members of the Team Tonga delegation will leave for Rio from next week onwards.

SOURCE: MATANGI TONGA/PACNEWS


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