Tonga Sports Council Programme Coordinator, Inoke Afeaki said the major issue is that the country does not have any Sports Act to provide direction to all local sporting federations.
“There is no direction, there are no parameters on how sports should be and there’s no true north of where. What we trying to do in sports?”
Afeaki has spent the past two years helping address the gaps in the structure to assist sporting federations to be more competitive at international competitions.
“Without having the Act, the federations are open to interpret their direction the way they feel. Anyone in leadership can come and change direction and go backwards and not know,” he said.
“I see that as a major fundamental to set the environment right. Fiji and Samoa got theirs done a couple of years ago. And they got help from New Zealand on that and how to write it up so it’s not a hard process.”
While there is the Tonga Sports Council Act, it looks after the properties of sport and provides assistance through policies and finance.
“It’s not geared to assist in training, but there is a leeway there, there is training assistance written into the Act, it’s just the way you interpret it,” he said.
That leeway enabled TSC to organize a new training programme involving strength and conditioning and aerobics aimed at improving the fitness for athletes who participated in the Pacific Games in Samoa earlier this year.
The programme was a success with Tonga winning the most medals ever at a Pacific Games.
Tongan athletes won a total of 29 medals of which 9 are gold, 5 silver and 15 bronze medals.