11 May 2013

Sport: Tongan swimmer surprised by interest since coming out story

9:48 am on 11 May 2013

Tongan swimmer Amini Fonua says he's been surprised by the wide interest since coming out as gay in his campus newspaper.

The 23 year old was the Tongan flag-bearer at last year's London Olympics, where he competed in the men's 100 metre breaststroke.

The Texas A&M graduate made his announcement in his campus newspaper, The Battallion, where he also defended the school against accusations of homophobia.

Fonua says the announcement barely rated a mention on campus and admits he never expected such a big big response.

"The article itself was a favour to a friend in my creative writing class and it turned out to be a cover story and then went pretty international pretty quickly. Had no intentions of it getting as big as it was and didn't really see it as much of a coming out story because I've sort of been out to my closest friends and most of my immediate family for about five years now."

Amini's announcement comes just over a week after US basketballer Jason Collins became the first active athlete in the history of the four major US professional sports to come out.