I took up martial arts after I was bullied - Tonga's taekwondo coach Paul Sipata

More than 3500 athletes from 24 nations in Oceania will gather in Samoa on 7 July for the Pacific Games - the biggest sporting event in the Pacific region.

Meet the Athletes is a series by Pacific Media Network that hears from some of the competitors heading to the games.

"Taekwondo is more than just martial arts, you learn to control yourself, you learn how to overcome struggles and hardships," said Master Paul Sipata, who will be representing Tonga.

Sipata adds it was because of his height, he was encouraged to take up the sport in the first place.

“I got bullied a lot because of my size. For rugby, I wasn’t the type of physicality that was required.”

“So I wanted to do a kind of sport and I found out that they are one of the Korean masters that came to Tonga to teach Taekwondo. And because of the idea of being able to defend myself, I got interested to learn self-defense.”

“It’s more than martial arts, you learn how to protect yourself, you learn how to control yourself and most of all, learn how to overcome hardships and struggles,” he said.