“I was lucky to decorate Pita,” says the Tongan coach behind the Olympic oil sensation

    The female Olympic coach who decorated the kingdom’s flagbearer with Tongan oil said she was lucky to be part of the decoration team.

    The response to Pita Taufatofua’s appearance at the opening ceremony in Rio caused the internet to break last week and Palu Havea said she was excited when she realised the oil decoration she made had attracted a world-wide attention.

    Havea, who is one of the Tongan coaches at the Olympics, said she was asked by the Tongan chef de mission to look after Taufatofua’s decoration.

    “I am a mother and I did my best with all the experiences as I often decorated my daughter for dancing,” she said.

    Havea said the oil on Taufatofua’s’s torso may have glistened more if his hands had not been busy holding the flag.

    “That’s the Tongan way of how to do it ,” Havea said.

    “You pour the oil on his hands so he can rub it into his body from time to time and that would make it glisten more.”

    “The people who stood close to where we were walking during the opening ceremony wanted to touch Taufatofua’s body and asked to pose with him for photos”.

    Since the oil sensation the name “Tonga” has been widely recognised at the Olympics.Palu and Pita 1

    “Wherever we went with our outfit with the name Tonga on it we could hear the people saying “Tonga!” Havea said.

    Floats and parades

    Meanwhile a colourful parades was staged today in Tonga to show the people’s support for the Tongan Olympians and Taufatofua who is the only one still to compete.

    He is set to contest the 80kg + men’s individual Taekwondo competition this Saturday, August 20.

    Photos uploaded to social media showed Tongan supporters in Nuku’alofa waving flags. Some people were marching and trying to imitate Taufatofua when he led the Tongan Olympics team as flagbearer.

    Tonga Power Ltd donated TP$10,000 to support Taufatofua while preparing for the Olympics.

    This was how the Tongan supporters talked about and photographed the parades in Nukuʻalofa today:

     


    The main points

    • The female Olympic coach who decorated the kingdom’s flagbearer Tongan oil said she was lucky to be part of the decoration team.
    • Palu Havea, who is one of the Tongan coaches at the Olympics, said she was excited when she realised the oil decoration she made had attracted a world-wide attention.
    • “I did my best with all the experiences as I often decorated my daughter for dancing,” she said.
    • “The people who stood close to where we were walking during the opening ceremony wanted to touch Taufatofua’s body and asked to pose with him for photos.”

    For more information

    Tongan flagbearer explodes over the internet as kingdom’s seven member team marches in Rio

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