Pita Taufatofua

Tonga's Taufatofua Olympic campaign gets underway

The Oceania taekwondo champion has been one of the most talked about athletes in Rio, since his coconut-oiled body made global headlines during the Games opening ceremony.

Tonga's Pita Taufatofua ready to compete

RNZ reports the 32 year old has been one of the most talked about athletes in Rio, since his coconut-oiled body made global headlines during the Games opening ceremony.

The Oceania taekwondo champion has since made a string of media appearances and created countless column inches online.

He said despite the intense spotlight that has shone on him in Rio he's confident it hasn't affected his training and preparation.

"I feel ready. I mean it's time - it's been a long time coming (and) I'm just happy to get up there and compete," he said.

Tongan flagbearer to refocus on training

RNZ reports the 32 year old taekwondo athlete was the talk of the internet and many viewers around the world after the cameras zoomed in on his coconut-oiled body at the Maracana Stadium.

Some viewers joked that all gold medals be handed over to Tonga immediately.

The Oceania champion has since featured in media all over the world and even managed a picture backstage on America's Today Show with Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima.

Team Tonga Chef de Mission Michael Bloomfield said the global reaction took them by surprise.

Oily Tongan flag bearer will make his competitive Olympics debut Aug. 19

Taufatofua became the first breakout star of this year's Olympic games after appearing shirtless with a traditional tupenu wrap and a shark tooth necklace in honor of his island home during the Parade of Nations.

His appearance provided a huge roar in the stadium when he appeared on the stadium video camera and prompted a collective meltdown on Twitter after he appeared with little more than his traditional Tongan "ta'ovala," a huge amount of coconut oil, flip-flops and a wide smile.

How Tongan Olympic heartthrob's life has changed since Opening Ceremony

Pita Taufatofua leaned in too far throwing a punch and left his face vulnerable to counter attack.

“You have to keep that safe,” a friend joked with him. “It’s your moneymaker now.”

Taufatofua’s good looks have indeed attracted plenty of interest since his bare-chested, oil-slathered entrance at the Opening Ceremony on Friday night. In the past 48 hours, the 32-year-old Tongan taekwondo fighter has received everything from job offers, to suggestive photos, to marriage proposals.

Taekwondo a perfect match for Tonga's Pita Taufatofua

RNZI reports the 32-year-old won gold in the over 80kg class at last month's Oceania Qualifying tournament to seal his place at the Rio Olympics.

It was the third time of trying for the Australian-based Tongan, who started learning taekwondo at the age of five and has been hooked ever since.

Tonga's Pita Taufatofua qualifies for Rio Olympic

Pita competed in the +80kg category, and as it could be expected it was a tough battle all the way. In his two final bouts, the semi-final against a Papua New Guinean, he won by one point 4-3. 

He went on to win his final bout against the New Zealand Heavy Weight Champion Daffyd Sanders, ranked the number 1 Fighter in Oceania, and number 15 in the World.