Tonga to increase number of community sports events
Tonga's Sports Minister says an increase in sporting tournaments in the country will give more opportunities for talented athletes to be identified.
'Akosita Lavulavu wants to introduce regular village and island tournaments in the country, including annual rugby and netball fixtures.
Mrs Lavulavu, who is also the Minister for Internal Affairs, wants to build up community spirit from the grassroots and believes sport is a key to doing so.
"Sports is the unifying tool that will contribute to a higher quality of life through healthier lifestyles, increasing opportunities to talented Tongans, perhaps through tournaments and sporting activities throughout all the communities within Tonga," she said.
"Everybody, and I mean everybody and anybody has the potential to excel."
Mrs Lavulavu said recent history showed the impact sports could have on a country.
"We can just see, especially with the past Mate Ma'a Tonga rugby league games that we have just had, it brought unity amongst everybody in the country.
"I believe that sporting tournaments within the community will bring happiness amongst the people and it will unify us all and it will build a relationship amongst everybody at all levels," she said.