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Tokelauan wrestler joins Commonwealth board

30 April 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Lisa Williams-Lahari -

An Auckland-based wrestler has again put the island nation of Tokelau on the map, but it's all part of a dream of seeing the Tokelau flag at the Olympics. 

Ilai Elekana Manu won Tokelau 14 of 22 votes to earn one of seven slots on the new Commonwealth Wrestling Board.

The new global recognition for the Commonwealth's smallest member nation is a vital step for Manu, who is keen to get Tokelauans into the Oceania branch of the International Olympic family. 

Ilai Elekana Manu and his wife Kim Pavihi-Talamahina. Photo/ Commonwealth Amateur Wrestling Association.

At the moment, Tokelauans must compete under the New Zealand flag, while the two other realm nations Cook Islands and Niue bring their own teams.

Manu says he won't give up trying.

"I don't want to be cutting our talents short in terms of, 'Oh you can represent Tokelau but you can only go so far'."

"I want to open doors up so that people come in wanting to represent their own country Tokelau and they can go as far as their talent can push them," he says.

"I've got a lot of young nephews, a lot of young Tokelauans who are coming up and I don't want them to hit the same barriers I've been experiencing."

Tags: Tokelau, sport,