4 Apr 2018

Sport: Female boxer to bear Tonga flag

2:52 pm on 4 April 2018

The selection of a female boxer to be Tonga's flag bearer at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was not a political decision, its chef de mission says.

Magan Maka.

Magan Maka. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2014

The Tongan government caused controversy last month by banning girls from boxing and playing rugby at Tonga High School.

24-year-old Magan Maka will carry Tonga's flag after previously representing New Zealand at the 2014 games in Glasgow.

Her father Fili Maka, who is a boxing trainer in Auckland, is the assistant coach of the Tongan boxing team.

Chef de mission 'Amanaki Fakakovikaetau said after Pita Taufatofua established his notoriety as a Tongan flag bearer, it was time for the honour to pass to a woman.

"Nothing to do with politics. My thinking was Pita Taufatofua is big enough so this time I thought it would be appropriate to have a lady," he said.

"It was announced on the same day that the minister of education announced regarding that (ban). So I think there is nothing here involved in politics."

Maka, who is fighting in the 69 kg division, is one of two female boxers among Tonga's 13 athletes competing in six sports on the Gold Coast.

Along with three male boxers, Tonga has two track and field athletes, two lawn bowlers, two swimmers, a shooter and a weightlifter.