Pita Taufatofua is one race away from qualifying for the Winter Olympics

Tongan Olympian Pita Taufatofua who drew international attention at the 2016 Rio Olympics is now trying to qualify for next month’s Winter Games as a cross country skier.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Pita Taufatofua will race one more time in Poland this weekend in hopes of achieving the necessary score to qualify.

Taufatofua lost his taekwondo match against Iranian medal favourite Sajjad Mardani at the Summer Olympics.

Taufatofua was able to compete to qualify for the Winter Games after the International Ski Federation changed it rules after the Sochi Games to allow points accrued in roller-skiing events to count toward cross- country skiing.

That meant that Taufatofua could compete in cross-country roller-skiing races and the points would count toward qualifying for the Olympics, world media have reported.

“To qualify, Taufatofua needed to finish five races with a score that met certain objectives. Over the past year he’s managed four of those finishes, so his Olympic dreams are within reach.”

After the Rio Olympics Taufatofua said: “It took me 20 years to get here, if it takes another 20 we will bring that Gold home! Thank you for the love, prayers and support without you all we would not be here! Malo Aupito, ofa atu.”

At the time his coach, Master Paula Sitapa reportedly said they intended to keep going and push towards the Tokyo Olympics in four years time.


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