Boxer Duken Tutakitoa-Williams took just five minutes to seal his place in Commonwealth Games history by winning Niue’s first-ever medal.
With a population of about 1,600, it may come as no surprise that Niue — a coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean 375 miles east of Tonga — had never made it to the medal tally at five previous Games.
But heavyweight Tutakitoa-Williams put an end to that wait by stopping his Cook Islands opponent Michael Schuster in the second round of their quarter-final match in Birmingham 2022.
“I wanted to be the first Niuean to win a medal and I succeeded,” said Tutakitoa-Williams, who is from Auckland, New Zealand, about 1,500 miles from the so-called ‘Rock of Polynesia’.
“I can’t wait to hear the response in Niue. Fate brought me here because I originally wanted to go to New Zealand after winning the nationals there.
“But my coach was asked to coach the Niue team and I was so happy to become a Niuean.
“I already feel like a Niuean, but this is not the end. I came here with three other boxers to make history.
“They came up short, but I didn’t come here for a bronze medal – I want gold.”
Boxing always seemed like Niue’s best route to Commonwealth Games medals.
Two decades ago, the captivating super heavyweight Star Tauasi made a memorable impression – if not the podium – at Niue’s first Games in Manchester to win the hearts of fighting fans around the world.
Tutakitoa-Williams, who had a bye to the last eight, will now join Tauasi in Niue folklore, and he doesn’t have to go far to gain official recognition from the political class.
The country’s Prime Minister Dalton Tagelagi is in Birmingham… taking part in Niue’s bowls team in its third consecutive Commonwealth Games.
Unfortunately, Tagelagi – part of a 15-man Niue team competing in three different sports – will not be bringing his own medal to the South Pacific.
Niue’s ten bowlers, five men and five women, have lost every game in Birmingham.