Niue’s heavyweight boxer Duken Tutakitoa-Williams will lead the country’s campaign at the upcoming Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Chef de Mission Sidney Lui told RNZ Pacific that Tutakitoa-Williams, who was Niue’s first Commonwealth Games medallist after taking bronze at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, is a top medal prospect for the island nation.
“He was the one who won our first medal in Birmingham,” Lui said on Monday.
Tutakitoa-Williams is one of three boxers in the Niue squad.
He had told RNZ Pacific in 2022 that he wants to qualify for the Paris Olympic 2024 and the Games in Honiara will be his step towards gaining qualification for that.
Boxing Niue will also feature De Niro Pao and Keanu Naden.
Lui said their squad also includes netball and touch rugby – sports that had been missing from their Games squads in the past 16 to 20 years.
Niue will also have athletes competing in weightlifting, powerlifting, netball and touch rugby. Athletes named have come from Niue, New Zealand and Australia.
She said the Games’ participation is self-funded and they were grateful to the Niue government and their families for their support.
“The Pacific Games is a self-funded game, and we appreciate the amount of work that all the athletes and officials have put into their fundraising efforts to ensure that Niue is represented.
“We appreciate the continuous representation from Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Boxing on the international stage despite being small in numbers.
“Netball returns to the Games after 20 years and Touch Rugby after 16 years. Thank you, Niue Island Netball Association and Niue Touch president, for extending this opportunity to our cousins abroad.
“Thank you, Government of Niue, through the Minister of Sports and our very own families for your support.”
Lui said their squad was approved following a meeting between her as Chef de Mission, the Pacific Games Council Chief Executive Officer Andrew Minogue and a representative from the Host Nation, Valerie Hilly last week.
“The athletes and officials are confirmed eligible to represent Niue at the Pacific Games 2023, having met all eligibility criteria of the Pacific Games Charter,” she added.
Niue Pacific Games squad
Chef de Mission – Sidney Lui, Assistant Chef de Mission – Tony Edwards, President – Maru Talagi, Support Staff – Andy Manu & Harry Oge;
Boxing – Duken Williams, De Niro Pao, Keanu Naden, Manager – Quinn-Tina Schmidt, Coach – Devon Latoa;
Netball – Leilani Lui-Ikiua, Rosena Charina Jackson, Francine Falaniua Morris, Jazelle Dilworth, Jenessa Noble, Rosalina Holamotu Tausi, Tiana Ikinofo, Florence Ngan Woo, Khalais Tanevesi, Shakayah Tanevesi, Kiana Kifoto Jackson, Riley Nothdurft, Asst. Manager – Solomona Helagi, Coach – Michelle Dufty, Asst. Manager – Ane Holamotu, Manager – Malama Rex Helagi;
Weightlifting – Ramsi Edwards, Callum Makatoa, Manager – Clarence Tong, Coach – Tony Edwards;
Powerlifting – Maxine Edwards, Samuel Singh, Manager – Helena Banaba. Coach – Ramsi Edwards;
Touch Rugby (Men) -Troy Harrison, Tana Love-Hepi, Patrick Moore-Lam, Ngakau Perry, Nathaniel Manase, Torynn Atamu, Joel Stowers, Taimana Simi, Riwhi Rex-George, Honour Silimaka, Jeremiah Makavilitogia, Joshua Scully, Tyrese Coromandel, Heaven Silimaka, Coach – Jason Silimaka, Asst. Coach – Quincy Ikifana, Physio – Tamar Emerym Manager – Josilina Silimaka; TOUCH
(Women) – Brytten Reynolds, Lisa Vaimalu, Mariko Viliko Edwards, Quilaine Papua, Sheeniell Viliko, Teri King, Turiti Galiki, Harmony Perry, Truniqua Silimaka, Tracey Palupe, Peyton Holamotu, Xanthe Vaimalu, Jaimee Holamotutama, Brooke Holamotutama, Coach – Alec Palupe, Asst. Coach – Bronson Edwards, Manager – Zelda Nicoll;
Guests – Alamein Ngan Woo, Elijah Ngan Woo, Emily Tutaki, Graham Swan, Joanne Falaniua, Kappy Ngan Woo, Luca Rex-Helagi, Manu Tilialo, Molina Tausi and Noah Nothdurft.
SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS