Tomasi is Tonga’s first Olympic Gold Medallist
NUKU’ALOFA-August 7: 4.20pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Lapaha man Tomasi Ma’asi has become the first Tongan athlete to ever win a Gold Medal at any Olympic Games.
This follows his winning the gold medal in the men’s 100 metre final at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, United States of America on August 2.
Tomasi, who had won gold medals at the Pan Pacific Games in 2013, beat the rest of the field to the tape in the 100m final after having being disappointed with his third place finish in the 200m final a day earlier.
And the Team Tonga Special Olympians returned home with one gold medal, two silver and two bronze from the meet, which featured 6,000 athletes from 165 nations around the world.
A proud Vanessa Heleta, the Director of Tonga’s Special Olympic Association was elated that all four of the athletes won medals to take home and had experienced the spirit of the Special Olympics.
“It’s all about acceptance and inclusiveness,” she said.
“And we were overjoyed with the achievements made by the athletes, with each of them returning home with a medal. Tomasi is the exception with a gold medal and a bronze”
Vanessa said Tomasi’s gold medal win in the 100m final was a special one.
“He was very determined to win after having lost the 200m final earlier,” she said.
“When he won we just cried with joy. For Tomasi to beat the rest of the world in that race was a splendid achievement.”
The win puts Tomasi on the history books as the first Tongan to ever win a gold medal at any Olympic Games.
His teammates have also created history by winning medals in their individual events.
The other athletes included Tutaleva Fehoko, who claimed a silver medal in the 50m sprint, Tevita Tilini winning a silver medal in the men’s mini javelin and Fane Helu, who claimed a bronze medal in the women’s shot put.
The Special Olympics was held from July 25 to August 2.
Meanwhile, Vanessa has thanked all those who supported them in their preparation for the Games.
She said their trip would not have been made possible without the support of all their sponsors and all those who supported their fundraising drives here.
She also thanked the Tonga Football Association for the availability of the training venues, including the Football Gymnasium at Veitongo.
Football officer Lui Muavesi, himself a former Pacific Games and Oceania athlete for Fiji, helped trained the athletes at the Football Gymnasium.
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