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“Tonga Tritons” off to Cook Islands for first handball tourney

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Tonga Tritons with Crown Prince Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala, Royal Palace, Nuku'alofa, 24 November, 2022. Photo: Tonga Handball

Tonga's first National U20 and U18 Boys Handball Teams will head to the IHF Oceania Trophy in the Cook Islands, with a new name bestowed by Crown Prince Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala. They will be known as the “Tonga Tritons”. 

Both teams will fly out tomorrow, 1 December, to represent Tonga in the tournament, that includes Australia, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Tahiti, from 5-9 December.

Tonga Tritons Head Coach, Sawah Moharram said today this is the first time for Tonga to have national teams in this sport.

“When we started end of July, we had one ball and three boys. Four months later we have 18 balls and over 70 boys and girls. Also, we are waiting to receive 300 balls from IHF,” he said.

Tonga Tritons training in November, 2022. Photo: Tonga Handball

Moharram who arrived in Tonga with his family in May is a former professional handball player, with coaching experience in England and Australia.

"I started handball in Tonga with Takitoa Taumoepeau, Head of the IOC and the Tonga Handball Federation at the end of July, just in the field next to my house. Four months later, we have two national teams, we had the honour to go to the Royal Palace and met his Highness the Crown Prince and he granted the team with the name Tritons." 

He said if Tonga Tritons U18s qualify from this Oceania tournament they will go to Croatia next year. If the U20s qualify, they will go to Germany next year to play in the World Handball qualification. 

“We need all the support from all the Tongan people,” he said.

The two teams have been training hard over the past months since being recruited.