By Eleanor Gee
Tonga celebrated Olympic Day today with the Tonga National Taekwondo team performing a demonstration at the Basilica of St Anthony and Padua in Nuku’alofa.
The event was organized by the National Olympic Committee (TASANOC) and attended by the Japanese Ambassador to Tonga HE Tetsuya Ishii, TASANOC representatives, sports representatives, primary school students, and others.
Tonga Taekwondo’s first ever female to qualify for the Olympics earlier this year, Malia Paseka, wowed guests with her martial arts skills as she demonstrated self defence moves, taking down two attackers at the same time.
Some Taekwondo practitioners decimated stacked bricks with one hit, and others performed jump kicks and other moves.
HE Tetsuya Ishii in his keynote speech said it was unfortunate the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in Japan was postponed for one year due to the CoViD-19 pandemic.
“But, I would like to encourage all of you to keep practicing every day.
“The observation of continuity in nurturing any form of skill is a promising means for achieving success. Therefore, please continue your daily practice and training, and I do hope that next year we will all celebrate the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in Japan.”
TASANOC Secretary General Takitoa Taumoepeau explained that Olympic Day is normally celebrated on 23 June around the world every year but was disrupted by CoViD-19 restrictions.
The day is normally celebrated in Tonga with sports activities, and other programs.
To date, only two Tongan athletes, Malia Paseka and Pita Taufatofua have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in Taekwondo.
Other Olympic qualification events have been postponed due to the pandemic.
Malia told Matangi Tonga that she was continuing to train and hoped the Olympics will go ahead in Tokyo next year.