Tonga Boxing sends strong team to Oceania
The Tonga Amateur Boxing Association (TABA) has endorsed the selection of a strong boxing contingent for the upcoming AIBA Oceania Championship to be held in Canberra, Australia from 20th-26th of this month. The championship is also the final qualifying event for Oceania for a place in the XXX Olympic Games to be held in London later in the year.
According to Head Coach Lolo Heimuli, the Team has been camping since December last year and he has confidence that the boys will pull it in Canberra. It is a tough event as it is also a qualification for London, and everyone will want to do well and able to qualify for the Olympics.
Boxing Team Tonga will be led by current Oceania Superheavyweight Champion and bronze medallist from Delhi2010, Uaine Fa (a.k.a Junior Fa) and Lomalito Moala. Moala has just returned from an AIBA-sponsored training camp which was held in Cardiff, Wales while Uaine was competing in the Indian WSB series last month.
Also joining the team is Filipe Tau’aika of Hawaii and USA who will compete in the 91kg. Lolo is also optimistic that Filipe may be a dark horse and a surprise in Canberra.
The rest of the team will be Tevita Saimone Pomale (75kg), Sosefo Falekaono (69kg) and Mateaki Taumalolo (56kg). Others assisting with the team will be Pita Kengike and Molitika Siu as well as Albert Heimuli.
The Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic Committee (TASANOC) has been assisting financially the preparation and training of the team in New Zealand.
According to Secretary General, Takitoa Taumoepeau, he said that the Board has always favoured boxing and this year is an opportunity for them to try to qualify as many boxers as possible. He added that TASANOC was very fortunate for this year only that IOC has given some financial assistance to all members to assist with the preparation of athletes to London 2012 as well as other needs of the office.
The team is also expecting some form of financial assistance from TABA as well as some local officials to travel to Canberra to support the team.
Tonga will also try to qualify in Athletics, Swimming and Weightlifting for a place in the Games, while Taekwondo, Swimming and Weightlifting have also been applied under the tripartite places which will be known around early May.
Lolo and his boxing team wish to thank all the support that they received from the community as well as the media.