Regional | Bowls

Niue rates their medal chances in Bowls

As the world's mightiest countries battle it out for the top medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.  Among powerhouse countries is a little tiny nation from the South Pacific looking to secure their first medal at their fifth Games.

Niue might be one of the smallest nations taking on the Commonwealth Games,  but that isn't deterring them.

Desmond Hipa says, "It's been an excellent experience for us small island, so we're here to represent our country and we're enjoying the challenges as well."

24,000 Niuean  live in NZ and just under 1700 live in Niue. For the first time this year, the team have taken the largest Niuean based contingent of 19 to the Games with all but one athlete, based on "The Rock". 
Hipa says, "It's been a long term, bowling being represented by our families in Niue teams in Auckland, NZ. But now most of us come from Niue because we reside on the island and we were given the first opportunity but there's no reason in the future we can't pick some players from NZ. But at the moment for this games here we pick all the players from home."

With a small country means a bigger portfolio for these athletes who consist of local business owners, a former Miss Niue, meteorologists, telecommunication technicians and two Government Ministers.

Hon. Dalton Talagi - Minister of Ministry and Natural Resources says, "In the end you're representing you're country and the flag and the name which is part of Government's responsibility so I take it.  But you put politics away when it comes to sports and enjoy the moment and just being part of the big family."

The team will perform across four codes in the lawn bowls, javelin, shot put and shooting. For many of them it's a whole new experience. Win or lose, these athletes say they hope to inspire the next  generation to pursue big dreams, even if they might be the smallest on the block.

Hipa says, "That's part of the programme that we're trying to encourage more younger youth and the school children to come and enjoy bowls and be the representative for Niue in the future, future Games."