Nini Manumua started lifting weights as a 13-year-old at Lincoln High School.
Kuinini “Nini” Manumua, a highly talented weightlifter from San Francisco, officially qualified for the Tokyo Olympics this weekend. Manumua was born in American Samoa but lived in her parents’ home country of Tonga until they moved to San Francisco when she was 10.
She told KTVU in an interview, “It’s very empowering for a girl to do lifting. It makes me feel strong.”
She continued, “There’s never been a Tongan female weightlifter. I actually don’t see any Poly girls lifting… it amazes me that I’m even going to the Olympics.”
Manumua caught the attention of her coach, Ben Hua, as a volleyball player in high school. He’s guided her to the podium in both national and international competitions, and ultimately found her a route to the Olympics by representing her home country of Tonga. She will compete in the Women’s +87kg division for Weightlifting.
Manumua was originally denied a spot at the Olympics, but was later issued a Tripartite Commission Invitation, which offers a limited number of slots to athletes from underrepresented countries.
Just 5 other athletes are scheduled to represent Tonga in Tokyo. They are:
- Ronald Fotofili – Track and Field, Men’s 100m
- Amini Fonua – Swimming, Men’s 100m breaststroke
- Noelani Day – Swimming, Women’s 50m freestyle
- Pita Taufatofua – Taekwondo, Men’s +80kg
- Malia Paseka – Taekwondo, Women’s -67kg
Pita Taufatofua is the flagbearer who went viral at both Rio and PyeongChang for his oiled-up, shirtless entrance at the Opening Ceremonies. This is his 3rd straight Olympics for taekwondo.
We’re excited to see Nini Manumua represent the city of San Francisco, as well as her home country of Tonga, at the Tokyo Olympics! Manumua’s group is scheduled to compete on August 2.
Featured image: Via YouTube