Nine boxers contest Beijing slots

Kisione Mahanga

Gold Medalists in all the men’s categories will book
themselves a spot in Beijing. Even though Tonga will not have any
representations in the women’s event, women boxing is becoming popular in the
region but it is yet to develop into an Olympic Sport.

The Tongan contingent to Samoa for the Championships consists of 9 athletes and 3 officials. Malia Ve’ehala the only qualified Tongan
woman referee judge will Manage the Team with two other officials, Lolo Heimuli
from Auckland as coach and Feleti Saafi as assistant coach. The 9 athletes to represent Tonga in Samoa are as follows:

  1. Uaine Fa (super
    heavy weight)

  2. Kisione Mahanga (heavy-weight)

  3. Koniseti Paea

  4. Piutai Pani (
    light heavyweight)

  5. Finau Fisi Koloamatangi ( light heavyweight)

  6. Fe’ofo’ofani Takau (welter-weight)

  7. Sitaleki Maka (light-welterweight)

  8. Ikenasio ‘Asipeli (light-weight)
  9. Taniela Saafi (bantam-weight)

Two of the athletes are based in Australia,
four in Auckland with Lolo and all three boys in the lighter categories are local. “The boys have been training for this very
important event and it is going to be tough as everyone wishes to get to Beijing in August” said
Malia. Kisione Mahanga of Tu’anuku
Vava’u represented Tonga at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006 and performed outstandingly only to
miss out on a medal. “His experiences
and dedication to boxing places Kisione on the podium in Apia” added Malia.

This Championships is also a chance for Malia who qualified
last year as a referee judge during the 2007 Boxing Champs to get the
opportunity to referee in Beijing during the Olympics. Two referee judges
from Oceania will be selected by International Boxing to represent Oceania at the world’s great sporting event. “It would be an honour to be able to travel
and be part in the Olympics but right now we want to concentrate in our athletes”
commented Malia who was the only female referee judge during the 13th South Pacific Games in Samoa last year.

The team will depart Tonga on the 15th returning 30th.


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