It took boxer Duken Tutakitoa-Williams just five minutes to seal his place in Commonwealth Games history by winning Niue’s first-ever medal.
With a population of around 1,600, it was perhaps no surprise that Niue – a coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean 375 miles east of Tonga – had never made it to the medal table in five previous Games.
But heavyweight Tutakitoa-Williams ended that wait by stopping his Cook Islands opponent Michael Schuster in the second round of their quarter-final contest at Birmingham 2022.
“I wanted to be the first Niuean to win a medal and I did it,” said Tutakitoa-Williams, who hails from Auckland, New Zealand, some 1,500 miles from what is known as the “Rock of Polynesia.”
“I can’t wait to see the reaction in Niue. Fate brought me here as I originally wanted to go to New Zealand after winning the championships there.
“But my coach was asked to coach the Niue team and I was so happy to become a Niuean.
“I already feel like a Niuean, but that’s not the end. I came here with three other boxers to make history.
“They missed, but I didn’t come here for a bronze medal – I want gold.”
Boxing has always seemed to be Niue’s best route to winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Two decades ago, the captivating super-heavyweight star Tauasi made a memorable impression – if not the podium – at Niue’s first games in Manchester, winning the hearts of fight fans around the world.
Tutakitoa-Williams, who had a bye in the last eight, will now join Tauasi in Niue folklore and he doesn’t have to go far to earn official recognition from the political class.
The nation’s Premier, Dalton Tagelagi, is in Birmingham… making his third consecutive Commonwealth game for the Niue bowling team.
Unfortunately, Tagelagi – part of a 15-man Niue team competing in three different sports – will not be taking his own medal to the South Pacific.
Niue’s 10 bowlers, five men and five women, have lost every game in Birmingham.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/niue-south-pacific-cook-islands-pacific-ocean-tonga-b2138606.html Boxer wins first Commonwealth Games medal for tiny island nation of Niue