Other Sport

Outrage after ban on schoolgirl rugby, boxing

2018-03-23 09:51
Akilisi Pohiva (Getty Images)

Nuku'alofa - Tonga's Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva on Friday backed away from an education department edict banning girls from rugby and boxing, saying that their participation was for families to decide.

There was outrage this week over the department's stance, which led to a team of girls from Tonga High School pulled from a touch rugby tournament because of their gender.

In a letter explaining the ban, the Pacific nation's education department said it was to "preserve the dignity of Tongan women and hold on to Tongan cultural values".

Pohiva moved to clarify his government's position after the ban generated global headlines and criticism from the likes of two-time Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"(It) is not Tongan government policy," he said in a statement.

Pohiva said the government "actively encourages the participation of every Tongan student in all sports without discrimination".

"It is the government's responsibility to provide opportunities for all the students to participate in all sports," he said.

"It is, however, for the individual students and their parents to decide whether or not they should participate in a particular sport like rugby and boxing."

Adams, who was born in New Zealand but is fiercely proud of her Tongan heritage, had described the move as "misguided and stubborn misinterpretation" of Tongan culture.

"Rugby, like any sport, ought to be embraced by our Tongan women - we're good at it - don't take it away!" she said.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season has wrapped up. For all the season highlights - and lowlights - be sure to visit Sport24!

Latest blogs
Vote

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.