|Birth name||Amini Tuitavake Fonua|
December 14, 1989 |
Auckland, New Zealand
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||79 kg (174 lb)|
|Event(s)||50m, 100m, 200m Breaststroke, 50m butterfly|
|Coached by||Jon Winter, Donna Bouzaid (2007-2008), Sandra Burrow (1999-2007)|
|Updated on 7 August 2012.|
Amini Tuitavake Fonua (born 14 December 1989) is a Tongan swimmer.
Fonua was born and raised in Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand to Tongan lawyer Sione Fonua and British-born mother Julie. He holds dual Tongan and New Zealand citizenship. His family includes two other sisters.
Fonua's swimming career began at the Roskill Swimming Club based at Cameron Pool in Auckland, coached by Sandra Burrow from 1999-2007. He broke numerous Auckland and New Zealand Age Group Records under Burrow's tenure. He then moved to West Auckland Aquatics in 2007, and was coached by Donna Bouzaid. In the Fall of 2008, Fonua enrolled at Texas A&M on a swimming scholarship. While at Texas A&M he was a peer voted Team Captain, Big XII Conference Champion, NCAA All-American, and recipient of The Aggie Heart Award. He graduated with a Telecommunication and Multi-Media degree, with a Minor in Creative Writing in May 2013.
In preparation for the 2012 London Olympics Amini was trained by New Zealander and designated head coach for Tonga, Jon Winter. He served as his nation's flag-bearer in the 2012 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations. As a swimmer at the 2012 Summer Olympics, he competed in the Men's 100 metre breaststroke, failing to reach the semifinals.
Fonua makes the journey to Tonga at least once a year to support Tonga's learn-to-swim programme.
Fonua is openly gay. He came out on campus during his freshman year and publicly came out in 2013 in part to defend his school from the perception that it is a hostile environment for LGBT students. The Texas A&M graduate made his announcement in his campus newspaper, The Battalion, where he also defended the school against accusations of homophobia. Fonua says the announcement barely rated a mention on campus and admits he never expected such a big big response. “The article itself was a favour to a friend in my creative writing class and it turned out to be a cover story.... I had no intentions of it getting as big as it was and didn’t see it as a coming out story because I’ve been out to my closest friends and family for five years now.” In January 2014 he was named in Out Magazine's fourth annual "100 Most Eligible Bachelors" list.
- "Amini Fonua". London 2012. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Limited. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- Kathryn Powley (22 July 2012). "Olympics: Kiwis fly other flags at Games". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- Staff (22 July 2012). "Tonga first swimmer at London Olympics". Tonganz.net. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- Paloma Migone (28 July 2012). "NZ-born Tongan looks to make Olympic mark". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "Be true to yourself, says gay Tongan swimmer", Radio Australia, 17 May 2013
- Publisher (25 July 2012). "Three athletes to represent Tonga at London Olympics". Matangi Tonga Online. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Aggie athlete, openly gay
- "Sport: Tongan swimmer surprised by interest since coming out story", Radio New Zealand International, 10 May 2013
- Out Editors (13 January 2014). "Fourth Annual 100 Most Eligible Bachelors". Out.com. Retrieved 25 February 2014.