Tongan lawn bowler Paris Baker hopes her success on the international stage will encourage more young people to take up the sport.
The 21-year-old won the ladies singles title at the World Under-25 Championships in West Denton, England earlier this month, which marked a a first-ever world title for the Kingdom of Tonga.
Baker, who also won a bronze medal at this year's Pacific Games in Samoa, was the only Pacific Island representative in her age grade at the world champs and hoped her success will encourage more Tongans to get involved.
"I'm honoured and blessed and humbled to be able to rep Tonga on the world stage and coming for that win, I was proud. I was honestly proud to be Tongan and proud to promote bowls and hopefully there will be more under 25 Tongans who would follow in my path in the future."
Baker, who is based in New Zealand, won all her singles matches, over powerhouse nations including England, New Zealand and Australia, while she also claimed a slightly unconventional silver medal in the pairs division, alongside Welsh representative Jordan Driscoll.
"It was under 25s and normally countries they send two of their best players, but unfortunately I was the only under 25 player for Tonga," she said.
"We asked World Bowls if they were able to pair me up with somebody who was probably in the same position as me, so I was fortunate enough to play with Jordan from Wales."
Baker's journey to playing bowls began six years ago when she would hitch a ride with her father, Dave Makasini, to watch his games before going to the local mall.
But the visits became less frequent when he suffered a stroke.
"I use to go watch him a few times and I would just sit there. I wasn't really interested in the game, it was more because the bowling club was near a mall...it was an excuse to go to the mall everytime and come back," she said.
"It was maybe a year later when he had a stroke."
Knowing that her father had a passion for the sport, she joined him in his recovery through playing bowls; a hobby which would help to improve his muscle strength, flexibility and co-ordination.
"Recovering and trying to get back into bowls was hard for him so I would always go after school [and] we would always go to the nearest bowling club and have a roll up," she said. "I would just practice with him so he could get back into the game."
"I think that's where my love of bowls came from you know just that bonding with my dad and that competitive spirit that we had [to recover]."
Hitting the green regularly with her dad, it wasn't long before Baker was recognised and began training with the New Zealand development squad. In 2018 she took out the Auckland Bowls Women's Premier Open singles title and was recognised as New Zealand's National Women's Under 21 Bowls Champion.
"It wasn't until Tonga wanted to put in a team for the Pacific Games in July. They asked Bowls NZ if they were able to release me to play for Tonga but that meant a stand down period of representing New Zealand for two-years," she said.
"It was a big decision I had to make with my family and coaches to see whether I wanted to play for New Zealand or go Tonga in the Pacific Games...it was pretty much a family decision. I was really happy to represent where my family originated from and my heritage. It was a proud moment."
Secretary General of Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic Committee, Takitoa Taumoepeau, said more athletes were choosing to represent Tonga.
"This movement by the rugby league players, in particular Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo, opting to represent their little island nation, I think it has also driven athletes around the world of Tongan heritage not only to play league but to represent their kingdom in whatever sport they see," he said.
"Paris, who has been a fantastic representative for New Zealand, opted to represent Tonga at the recent Pacific Games in Samoa, so we worked around the clock getting her passport and everything so that she was eligible to represent Tonga in lawn bowls."
Taumoepeau said Baker had raised the bar in terms of competition and a plan was currently underway to increase the level of both male and female bowlers in the kingdom. He anticipates more Tongan representatives moving forward, including a partner for Paris in the bowls pairs divisions.
As she prepares for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Baker hoped to see more "brown faces" playing the code.
"People usually watch the game and think it's slow and boring, but once you play and you get the dynamics of the sport, you get to like it...it's on another level," she said.
"I think it's just the competitive part. Not only do you have to try and better every bowl that you have, and also against your opponent, but at the same time you're trying to better yourself, not just physically but mentally. You're literally thinking all the time."
"If we could have more Pacific Islanders, and young P.I.'s playing the sport, I think that could change the face of bowls and the way it is represented in the world of sports."