'Open doors for people in Tonga' – Pita Taufatofua on inspiring the Pacific's next generation of Olympians

Tongan Winter Olympian Pita Taufatofua has spoken about his objective at this year's PyeongChang games, hoping to show the next generation of Pacific athletes what's possible for them.

After making the switch from taekwando to cross-country skiing following his participation at the 2016 Olympic in Rio de Janeiro, Taufatofua is Tonga's sole representative at this year's Winter games in PyeongChang.

However, speaking to media yesterday, Taufatofua says his participation is more of a symbolic statement, rather than that of a medal prospect.

"The goal was to qualify, and in doing so, to open doors for the kids who are watching - in Tonga in Polynesia and the Pacific - to show them that there's more opportunities, to show them that there is a Winter Olympics," he said.

"On a personal level, my goal was to qualify and I achieved that goal."

"From a bigger level, for something that was much bigger than myself - it was what can I do with this? How can I inspire someone to be at the next Olympics."

The cross country skier is Tonga's only athlete in PyeongChang this year. Source: 1 NEWS


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'I won't medal on Friday, but in four years someone from Tonga might' – Tongan flagbearer aiming to create history in PyeongChang

Tongan Winter Olympics flagbearer and cross-country skier Pita Taufatofua is hoping his performances in PyeongChang will inspire athletes in not just his home nation, but all across the Pacfic for future games to come.

After making the switch from taekwando, the sport that he represented Tonga in at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Taufatofua will this year be the island nations sole participant in PyeongChang, hoping his efforts serve as an example for future Olympians.

"The truth of the matter is that I've had a short time on snow, I won't medal on Friday," he said yesterday.

"But in four years someone from Tonga might, in eight years someone from the Pacific might."

"More importantly, these kids from the Pacific who are watching now, they'll have access to something they never knew existed before, and to me, that's why I'm here."

Pita Taufatofua is hoping to inspire the next generation of Pacific athletes at the Winter Olympics. Source: 1 NEWS


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'I don't know much about snow' – Tongan flagbearer breaks down his new challenge

Tonga's Winter Olympics flagbearer Pita Taufatofua opened up about his switch to cross-country skiing in order to compete at this year's games in PyeongChang.

Having competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Taufatofua jumped sports to compete at this year's Winter Olympics, this time as a cross-country skier.

Speaking to media in PyeongChang last night, Taufatofua spoke about his journey to this year's games.

"I needed this new challenge," he said.

"I'm not a distance athlete, I don't know much about snow, but I'm learning."

"I learnt on roller skis throughout the year in Australia and Tonga. We had no access to funds or equipment at that stage - but we found ways." 

Pita Taufatofua made the switch to cross country skiing to compete in PyeongChang this year. Source: 1 NEWS


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