TONGA 2019 IS READY IN 5 SPORTS…PAUL COFFA
and how to grow the sport throughout the Kingdom.
According to Secretary General of TASANOC, Takitoa Taumoepeau who is also a member of the 2019 Pacific Games Organizing Committee and Director of Venues, Mr Coffa was satisfied with the proposed venue, which is the Queen Salote Memorial Hall.
There are 9 indoor sports for 2019 programs and according to Mr Coffa the venue for weightlifting and 4 other indoor sports are ready. “I am very happy and satisfied with the venue and weightlifting and 4 other sports could be conducted in the hall at very minimal cost”. said Mr Coffa. He continued, “there had been talked and questioned of whether Tonga would be able to host the Games, but by being set foot here and see for myself, I am pleased to confirm that weightlifting is ready”. He added that another 4 indoor sports, namely, Powerlifting, Judo, Taekwondo and Bodybuilding can be conducted at the same venue.
“Look, weightlifting will start in the first week, and the only adjustment to the setting up is the removal of the platform and equipment and put the mat for Judo and so as Taekwondo while the seating and other arrangement stayed the same”, according to Mr Coffa. He commended the Organizing Committee for its wise judgement in utilizing to the maximum the existing venues and facilities.
“There are more than 140 member countries worldwide in weightlifting and the live telecast and internet will take Tonga to some part of the world that we would not be able to travel to such as Mongolia, Nepal, Turkmenistan and countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, said Coffa.
Mr Coffa believed that “talents” are here in Tonga (and so are in the region) and only needed “support” both from the Federation (of weightlifting), the NOC, and Government.
He said, “who would have heard of Kiribati? but for David Katoatau’s gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. It was an inexpensive promotion of the small island country to the Commonwealth family and so to the world”. “You (Tonga) had the talent and a boxer who won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics but that’s almost 20 years ago and you need to continue to produce those athletes”.
Mr Coffa had trained lifters in the region who had won 36 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and more than 250 gold medallists in the Pacific Games. He is currently the Coach at the Oceania Institute of Weightlifting in Noumea, New Caledonia.
Mr Coffa was in Tonga at the invitation of the 2019 Pacific Games Organizing Committee and the Weightlifting Federation.