Team Niue to Birmingham embroiled in legal disputes over Lawn Bowls squad

Young Lawn Bowler Tukala Tagelagi who has been training for more than two years to make the Niue team to Birmingham 2022

With less than three weeks away from the opening of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Team Niue is embroiled in legal disputes over the lawn bowls contingent.

BCN News understands that NISCGA president and officials are appealing the decision of the Chief Justice of the Niue High Court Judge Coxhead declaring the NISCGA unilateral selection of the lawn bowls squad in Team Niue, null and void. This decision was handed down on June 29th Niue time.

BCN News has seen email correspondence from Tony Edwards to Des Hipa saying that NISCGA but when contacted by BCN News for confirmation or comment, the Niue Team Chef de Mission remains silent.

In response, Niue Lawn Bowls on July 6th filed an ex parte application before the Niue High Court seeking an injunction prohibiting NISCGA from sending the Niue Lawn Bowls team to the Birmingham Commonwealth games.

The application claims that NISCGA president Maru Talagi and NISCGA officials failed to comply with the directions of the Court that the President of Niue Lawn bowls Des Hipa and NISCGA president Maru Talagi meet to decide on a mutually agreed upon lawn bowls team. 

According to the ex-parte application, the NISCGA president Maru Talagi chose not to comply with the directions of the Judge, to request the Commonwealth Games Federation to reopen the portal for a properly selected team agreed to by both parties. According to court documents obtained by BCN News, the deadline for the submission of names to the lawn bowls team closed on June 29th.

An ex parte application, usually in urgent matters before the courts, can be conducted without notice of other parties affected by the proceeding or in absence of said parties. 

Attempts to seek comments from Mr. Talagi and the Team Niue chef de mission Tony Edwards have been unsuccessful as NISCGA officials remain quiet.  

This deafening silence from Niue’s team officials to the Commonwealth Games is frustrating many people on the island, most of all the athletes of the Niue Lawn Bowls, who have been training for more than two years in preparation for the games.

According to a former Registrar of the Niue High Court, an application to appeal the decision of the Chief Justice is not something to take lightly and may drag the matter to the Appeals Court.

The Niue Appeals Court does not sit often, likely to sit every two to three years.

Meanwhile, if the latest ex-parte application by Niue Lawn Bowls for an injunction is successful, then there will be no lawn bowls squad in the Niue team to Birmingham scheduled to depart the island on Monday next week. 

Without the lawn bowls contingent, there will only be five athletes in Team Niue with four boxers and one weightlifter. Team Niue will have 11 officials. The 5 athletes are all male and all based overseas. 

Locals are frustrated that most of the Niue team are officials and athletes who are not known to the people of Niue. Attempts by BCN News to profile some of the overseas base athletes have fallen deaf ears as Team Niue officials refuse to respond, leaving a frustrated Niue public.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will begin on the 28th of this month.

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