Thursday, December 14, 2017

Happy Birthday to Tongan Swimmer Amini Fonua

Amini Fonua was born today, December 14, in 1989. He is a Tongan competitive swimmer.

Fonua was born and raised in Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand. He holds dual Tongan and New Zealand citizenship.

Fonua's swimming career began at the Roskill Swimming Club based at Cameron Pool in Auckland from 1999–2007. He broke numerous Auckland and New Zealand Age Group Records. In the Fall of 2008, Fonua enrolled at Texas A&M on a swimming scholarship. While at Texas A&M, he was a peer voted Team Captain, Big XII Conference Champion, NCAA All-American, and recipient of The Aggie Heart Award. He graduated with a Telecommunication and Multi-Media degree, with a Minor in Creative Writing in May 2013.

Fonua was "the first Tongan swimmer to win a gold medal in international competition," when he took gold in the 50 metre breaststroke at the 2010 Oceania Swimming Championships.

In preparation for the 2012 London Olympics Fonua was trained by New Zealander and designated head coach for Tonga, Jon Winter. He served as his nation's flag-bearer in the 2012 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations. As a swimmer at the 2012 Summer Olympics, he competed in the Men's 100 metre breaststroke, failing to reach the semifinals.

Fonua made an international comeback at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. He created history by becoming the first ever Tongan athlete to ever win three Gold medals at a Pacific Games by sweeping the Breaststroke events, setting two Games Records in the process (50 m and 100 m Breaststroke). He is the only Tongan athlete in history to ever hold dual Oceania and Pacific Games titles.

Fonua is openly gay and an advocate for LGBT rights. In 2017, he was profiled by Attitude magazine as one of their bachelors of the year. 

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