Boxer makes history as Niue’s first-ever Commonwealth Games bronze medalist

Niue boxer Duken Tutakitoa-Williams (right) and Samoa boxer Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali (left) during semi-finals bout | Photo credits: Facebook/Team NIUE B2022

Win or lose, 23-year-old Niue boxer Duken Holo Tutakitoa-Williams has made Niue proud. 

Tutakitoa-Williams went up head to head against Samoa’s 23-year-old boxer Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali in the over 86 to 92 kg heavyweight semi-finals last night (local Birmingham time). 

After three solid rounds, an unanimous decision declared Samoa boxer Plodzicki-Faoagali as victor. 

Despite his loss in the semi-finals, Tutakitoa-Williams has made history in Niue as the first Niuean to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games. 

After claiming victory in his quarter-finals bout against Cook Island boxer Michael Schuster, Tutakitoa-Williams was already guaranteed to receive at least a bronze medal in the semi-finals. 

In boxing, two bronze medals are given to each of the losers of the semi-finals. 

BCN News reached out to Team Niue’s Chef de Mission (CDM) Tony Edwards to provide his comments on the overall outcome of the boxer’s semi-finals bout. 

CDM Edwards says that “Duke’s fight tonight demonstrates courage and dedication and commitment. He fought for his beloved country Niue. He faced a Commonwealth Medalist and showed true courage and never feared away but fought to the very end.”

Despite the challenges that they faced the team continued to push through and stay focused.

“We came to the games to compete and we did that. Our athletes were focussed in doing well and representing Niue. We encountered challenges throughout this campaign however we stayed focused. We believed in the team and we stuck behind them. I am thankful for the dedication and commitment this team has had throughout this campaign,” says Edwards. 

There were only fourteen athletes representing Niue at the Birmingham Games; four boxers and ten lawn bowlers (five men and five women). 

Initially the team was set to have fifteen athletes but one of the athletes, the sole weightlifter, prior to the games received a suspension notice by the Commonwealth Games Federation for not complying to the rules and regulations of the federation.

Two of the boxers lost their bouts and one boxer won advancing to the quarter-finals but lost. 

None of the lawn bowlers have been able to successfully win a contest. 

Premier of Niue Hon. Dalton Tagelagi was one of the lawn bowlers who also played alongside his 14-year-old son Tukala Tagelagi at the games.

The Premier has competed in the commonwealth games for Niue lawn bowls at the 2014 Glasgow, the 2018 Gold Coast and now the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. 

Niue’s first participation in the commonwealth games was twenty years ago at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. Ever since that time, Niue has not been successful at winning a medal from the games. 

A long and challenging journey it has been for Team Niue 2022 but despite all the challenges, each continued to represent their nation with pride and honour.

As of today, there is peace knowing that the team has brought home Niue’s first-ever Commonwealth Games medal.

“First Medal for the Commonwealth Games, we are so proud. Duke has done us proud and more so for himself and family. To his coach master Lolo Heimuli and Manager Lorina Thompson and to the Team, thank you for an awesome Campaign. We are settled now with the Bronze Medal,” says Chef de Mission Tony Edwards. 

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is currently on its final Day 10. The closing ceremony will take place on Monday 8th of August.

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