Written by Tonga South
Photo by Roland Setu
As the 2019 Samoa Pacific Games closes its curtains for another four years the tiny Pacific Kingdom of Tonga collects itself nine gold medals, the highest gold its ever won in the games 56 year history. You Rugby League fanatics are probably thinking what in the blue moon does that have anything to do with the beautiful sport of Rugby League? Well!!! Everything.
The nine golds in which Tonga had won, six of those were picked up from locals here in Tonga, without the other three golds added to the tally, the Pacific Kingdom would have not surpassed its previous success of seven golds. From that three, two golds were won by Weightlifter ‘Aisake Tu’itupou who resides in Auckland and could have easily represented the New Zealand team if he had wanted to. The other gold was won by the Fanguna brothers in Tennis who hail from the talented area of South Auckland.
Before the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, selecting to represent Tonga in any given sport was not as attractive, athletes would do so only if they couldn’t make the cut for the country in which they live in. This would mean Tonga would not be getting the cream of the crop but the crumbs of the cake. Ever since the MMT had chosen to follow their hearts and dedicate their international career to the tiny islands of Tonga their courageous and touching acts has rubbed off on others in different sports. Thank you Rugby League.
Double Gold medalist Tu’itupou was asked how much influence did the MMT have on his decision to represent Tonga and he expressed that it had a massive influence. Seeing the MMT walk away from the big dollars and follow heritage with heart and soul is very contagious. Thank you Rugby league.
As previously known, the MMT has not only had an impact on its own but also on other nations such as Samoa where Martin Taupau and Jamayne Isaako opted not too long ago to apply their trade to Samoa instead of the Kiwis just goes to show how much of an affect the MMT has positively installed in this beautiful game of ours.
Rugby league, we here in Tonga thank you, we thank you for giving us these players who proudly represents our small country and have a huge effect on other Tongans to also have the will and courage to represent Tonga in their given sport. We also celebrate the highest achievement of our netball team the Ladies in Red for their silver medal won at the games. This team has a huge number of players from NZ and Australia who have chosen to represent Tonga and because of that Tonga has won itself a silver medal at the games. Tongan athletes have seen how our people from all over the world have been proud of our very own MMT and have been influence to also represent Tonga.
Thank you Rugby League for not only lifting our small nation in the world of Rugby League but also in other sports, you truly are the winners here.