The minnows took to center stage in their midget and junior events with vigor yesterday. The shortest boys and girls are not intimidated by their bigger counterparts. Some are fairly fast even running barefooted. The nag for competition does not seem a deficiency in Tongan youths.
Some established records have been broken. Considering these athletes’ sizes and physiques − they are considered overweight and full of mush − since Tongans had been tarnished as the most obese people in the world.
Fighting Obesity in the Land of Endless Physical Activities
Even the traditional preoccupation with physical activities, Tongan youngsters are still overweight according to health scientists and dietitians at the World Health Organization. The WHO has published conflicting studies naming Tonga to have the most obese people in the world. Other studies dispute this claim, but the stigma has been assigned to most Tongan youths.
Whether the stigma is unfair or not, these athletics events in Tonga separate the obese from the those who are culturally considered suffering from anemia − a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness due to lack of proper eating habits. A skinny person is not considered healthy in Tonga.
While none of the overweight youths is excelling in track events, they do make up for it in the field events: shot puts; discuss throw; and javelin throw. But most importantly, they’re desperately needed in the cheering section.
The competition turns up the heat tomorrow, on the third and fourth day, for the intermediate, seniors, and open classes.
(Sione A. Mokofisi is a published writer in Tonga. He is Director of English, Journalism & Business Management at Tonga International Academy, Haveluloto, Tongatapu. He holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix-Arizona, and a B.S. degree from Brigham Young University-Hawaii. But his opinions do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of this Website. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org).