Tongan athletes

Coronavirus: Evacuation of Tongan athletes in China under way

The table tennis and boxing teams were the first of four groups to be evacuated on Sunday, while the swimming and weightlifting teams are scheduled to depart China on Tuesday afternoon.

The acting deputy head of sport for the kingdom, Eva Mafi, confirmed the teams would stay in London for two weeks under the care of Tongan officials.

Tongan sports teams to leave China Sunday and Tuesday

 The Minister said the evacuation of the four Tongan teams to London would be carried out in two parts.

 The first two teams to depart China are table tennis and boxing, on a flight that leaves around 1:00pm Sunday, 16 February (China time).

 They will be followed by the swimming and weightlifting teams who depart China on Tuesday, 18 February  at around 1:00pm (China time).

 “We thank God after countless efforts we have reached this stage, where the Government of the United Kingdom has permitted our children to arrive there,” he said.

Tonga Govt in talks to evacuate 52 athletes from Wuhan

Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic Committee General Secretary, Sisifo Takitoa Taumoepeau said there has been continuous  dialogue between New Zealand, Australia and even the United Kingdom on a possible route for evacuation.

He adds there are talks about where the athletes would be quarantined once they have left China.

Tongan athletes under quarantine in Wuhan due to coronavirus

Fifty-two Tongan athletes and officials from swimming, table tennis, boxing and weightlifting are currently in Wuhan, as reported by Radio New Zealand. 

Their flights back to Tonga, via Hong Kong, were cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus in the city. 

So far the illness has killed 722 people in China and has also spread to 28 countries, infecting just under 35,000 people. 

Taumoepeau confirmed that the athletes were all well and the Tongan Government was working on bringing them back.

Archers to open Tongan account in Rio

The pair qualified at the Oceania Championships in Nuku'alofa in April.

18 year olds Jensen and Tatafu will compete in the men's and women's individual ranking rounds.

Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu were officially welcomed into the Olympic Games Village in Rio de Janiero yesterday.

TASANOC Interim Secretary General-CEO, Takitoa Taumoepeau, said the team had settled in well and was looking forward to getting underway.