Tonga's shot put bronze medal blamed on last minute trip

Photo/Oceania Athletics Association (Facebook). Womens 4kg Shot Put Medal Winners,  Pacific Games 2015. 1st: Milika Tuivanuavou, FIJI – 14.35m (Centre) 2nd: Patsy Mckenzie, SAM – 13.83m (Left) 3rd: Ata Maama Tuutafaiva, TGA – 13.65m (Right)

Tongan Pacific Games athletes in Papua New Guinea endured another horror day yesterday Tuesday 13 after being required to compete within hours of arriving from Fiji.

One source (who did not want to be identified) told Kaniva News that shot putter ‘Atamaama Tūʻuutafaiva  was one of those affected.

Tūʻutafaiva won the bronze in Womens 4kg Shot Put Medal competition, throwing a best of 13.83m to finish third.

The source said Tūʻutafaiva and others were clearly fatigued after their six hour flight from Nadi to Port Moresby.

After all her recent setbacks, she was apparently on the verge of giving up but she was encouraged and supported by the team and officials.

“Tūʻutafaiva might have done better if she’d had more time to rest and prepare in PNG,” the source said.

“Her performance was well below her personal best”.

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Tūʻutafaiva and the six others athletes who competed yesterday were part of the group stranded at Fuʻamotu Airport on Tuesday 7.

Nobody had paid for the tickets needed for their original flight and the government was forced to organise a charter to fly them to Fiji on Saturday. They were then able to catch a connecting flight to PNG.

The incident has caused outrage on social media with many accusing Tonga’s national sport authority TASANOC of failing to ensure the country’s Pacific Games teams arrived in time.

The 15th Pacific Games began on July 4 and are scheduled to end on July 18.

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