Olympics: Tongan flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua sets sights on Tokyo

Pita Taufatofua said he will reveal next month what sport he will try to compete in at the 2020 games.
Pita Taufatofua said he will reveal next month what sport he will try to compete in at the 2020 games. Photo credit: Reuters

Famous Olympic Tongan flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua has plans to make another big splash by trying to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in a new sport.

The 34-year-old first made global headlines with a shirtless entrance - covered in oil as Tonga's flag-bearer at the 2016 Summer Games, a feat he repeated at the Winter Games in South Korea earlier this year.

He represented Tonga in taekwondo in Brazil two years ago, and then earlier this year he became the first man to represent the island nation in the Winter Olympics when he took part in cross-country skiing.

He was crushed in his opening round taekwondo fight in Rio, and finished 114th out of 119 in the Korean ski event.

But now he has his sights set on competing in another sport at the Tokyo games in two years' time.

"One of the biggest things I do is I set dreams which are impossible and then find a way to get there," he said on his Facebook page.

"On the 20th of August I will be releasing what that new sport will be, and if and when I can achieve that then I will hopefully be the first male in history to do three completely different Olympic sports in three different arenas."

Taufatofua hasn't confirmed what sport he would try, but he said it would involve water.

Regardless of what sport he competes in, he has made one promise that he will be on the podium in whatever he takes up.

"I can guarantee you... whatever that next sport is, if I qualify for the Olympics in that sport, I will medal in that sport," he told NBC Sports.

"What I'm going to present is a sport that's much more aligned with being a Tongan and being a Pacific Islander," Taufatofua said earlier. "It's aligned with the water, the sea. So, wait and see."

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