Three members from the Tongan national team have been preparing in Liverpool, UK for their upcoming events and also had the opportunity to train and spar alongside Great Britain's Olympic squad in Sheffield last week.
They were invited as part of a training and development programme by the North West Development Agency, in partnership with the Tongan Government and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG).
Tonga's boxing profile became famous at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games where its super heavyweight boxer Paea Wolfgram defeated star rivals such as Cuba's Alexis Rubalcaba on the route to to taking an incredible silver medal. He was defeated only by Ukraine's superstar Volodimir Klichko in the Olympic final.
The Tongan national boxing team secured excellent results at the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India last year where their top fighters acquired two bronze medals. Such great of a return had never happened to the small Oceanian islands. The medals were achieved by Lomalito Moala and Junior Uaine Fa.
Their marquee boxer is super heavyweight Junior Fa who won the gold medal at the Oceanian Championships last year after beating Australia's Russian-born Aleksey Mukhin in the final of the continental event. Following that great success for the Tongan boxer he secured a valuable bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in India. Oceania has got only one qualifying place in the super heavyweight class in the upcoming London Olympic Games but Junior Uaine Fa has got a real chance to obtain it.
The second participant of the training camp was teenager Tevita Pomale who will be taking part in the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man next month. The team consists of another boxer in Anthony Helu who is gaining international experience while coach Kosilio Helu has also joined the team.
The Tongan team does not have access to the international standard of boxing facilities in their homeland and they can train only three-time a week. Therefore they were given a tremendous opportunity to be stronger and more effective after the training camp in the UK.
The visit was part of the 2012 Legacy program and helps to inspire the nations having limited possibilities to prepare as full time athletes for the London Olympic Games.
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