Tonga’s hopes for Pacific Mini-Games gold medalist Sione Mōleni to secure another first gold medal in next week’s Pacific Games in Samoa have ended.
The boxer was part of the team brought to Tonga by New Zealand trainer Fili Maka for the National Boxing Tournament in March.
He has been caught up in the aftermath of a furious row that broke out between Maka and Tongan Boxing Association secretary Mataele Fūnaki over accusations that the Tongan organisers had not kept their promise to the New Zealand athletes.
As Kaniva news reported earlier, Fūnaki demanded an apology from Maka before he would endorse four boxing champions from Maka’s camp to represent Tonga at the Pacific Games. Maka refused.
Chairman of Tonga Sports Council, ‘Īkani Taliai said the TSC would not fund a team that had not reached the right standard or was not properly organised.
He said this had been made clear to all sporting bodies and the boxing team was no exception.
“They know that if they don’t select the most appropriate athletes, which obviously includes the New Zealand-based ones, we will not fund then,” Taliai said.
The CEO for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Dr Fotu Fisi’iahi, told Kaniva news he met with Fūnaki on June 18 and they had discussion about any chances to change the decision he made against Maka’s team, but it was too late as the deadline was June 14
Sione’s father Talāsinga Mōleni said he really felt for his son.
Talāsinga said he took his son to New Zealand at his own expense so that he could receive better training and a proper boxing diet in the hope that he would be picked by the Tongan Boxing Association to represent Tonga in the Pacific Games.
He said he did the same thing in 2017 when he took his son to Australia for training before he represented Tonga in the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu. Sione won a gold medal for Tonga.
Talāsinga said his son had an opportunity to fight during the Auckland Amateur Champions next month.
He said his son’s priority was Tonga and even though he joined the National Boxing Tournament in March as a member of the New Zealand Tongan team it was just part of his preparation to represent the kingdom.
Dr Fisi’iahi said he understood how parents vied for their children to have a chance in the Pacific Games, but his Ministry could not do anything and there was not much time left.
He said he was told by Fūnaki he had contacted Maka to submit a letter of apologies before his team could be included in the list but Maka did not respond.
Dr Fisi’iahi said there had been prospects for Sione.
The main points
- Tonga’s hope for Pacific Mini-Games gold medalist Sione Moleni to secure another first in next week’s Pacific Games in Samoa have ended.
- The boxer was part of the team brought to Tonga by New Zealand trainer Fili Maka for the National Boxing Tournament in March.
- He has been caught up in the aftermath of a furious row that broke out between Maka and Tongan Boxing Association secretary Mataele Funaki.
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