Former boxer could never walk again; his legacy should be rewarded, says Sports Minister

Ko e tangata fuhu 'a Tonga he valungofulu tupu ko 'Ofila Havea kuo ne tokoto fale mahaki pea 'oku ngali na'a 'ikai toe lava ke lue. Ko e hili 'eni ha'ane tō lolotonga e matangi ko Kita 'i ha'ane kaka 'i ha fale lotu ke tukituki hili hano maumau'i 'e he matangi. Na'e 'a'ahi ki ai 'a e Minisita ki he Sipoti 'aneafi pea ne pehe 'e 'Onapolo 'Akosita 'e sio ki ai mo 'ene potungaue na'a lava ha tokoni kia Havea he ko e tangata ne 'aonga he mala'e 'o e fuhu ma'a Tonga.

Sports Minister Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu said the legacy of a former boxing champion who was currently in hospital with a severe leg injury he sustained during Cyclone Gita should be rewarded.

Hon. Lavulavu visited ‘Ōfila Havea in hospital yesterday and said he was recovering but “he may not be able to walk again.”

“Yes he was a boxer,” the minister said.

It is understood Havea became champion of his weight in Tonga before he quitted boxing in early 1990s or late 1980s.

Kaniva News could not be able to confirm the details of his boxing records with Tonga Boxing Association.

Tonga’s National Sports authority TASANOC would not respond to our request for comment.

The Minister said she will look into what her Ministry could do to help Havea.

Havea was injured after falling from a roof during Cyclone Gita which struck Tonga last week.

He was at the top of a church building trying to fix the roof before he fell.

A number of families including his were sheltering in the church from the storm, Pacific Affairs Correspondent for Newshub, Michael Morrah reported.

“I climbed up with a hammer and some nails to nail the roof”, Newshub quoted Havea as saying.

“But it was slippery and I fell four to five metres and hit my back on some bricks.

“I can no longer feel my body from the hips down.”

Havea and his brother Suliasi Havea joined Tonga Boxing Association in 1980s.

Their cousin Fine Sani Vea from Vava’u who is now residing in Australia won gold medals for Tonga in boxing competitions including an event in New Caledonia in 1979, the British Commonwealth Games of 1982 in Brisbane, Australia and during the South Pacific Games in Western Samoa in 1983.

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