Tongan luge star realistic ahead of Winter Olympics debut
Tongan luge star Bruno Banani says it has taken a lot of sacrifice in order to achieve his goal of competing at the Winter Olympics.
Tongan luge star Bruno Banani says it has taken a lot sacrifice in order to achieve his goal of competing at the Winter Olympics.
The 25 year will become the Kingdom's first winter olympian in Sochi after securing his qualification last month.
The former university student and rugby player told Vinnie Wylie in 2008 he was selected by the German underwear manufacturer Bruno Banani to change his name and take up the sport as part of a marketing stunt.
BRUNO BANANI: They brought a coach from here, from Germany, which is still my coach now. She was the one to pick me from the tryout in Tonga.
VINNIE WYLIE: You must have shown some initial talent there. When did it become not just something that you were giving a go and something that you thought, 'well I could maybe make it to Sochi?'
BB: When I went to the tryout, like I said, I was just thinking of trying to do something new and they said it's to represent Tonga, and I wanted to do something like that, to represent Tonga. When we came here to Germany, and start training, and I start to really like the sport it went out really good. I was going better and better every month so the first Olympics was in 2010, I missed out one point on going to that Olympics, so I just tell myself this is so close, if I can just do it longer then I can make it to the next Olympics. So that's what I did, I did the best that I can so I can make it.
VW: I know you've got a few sponsors and of course your name comes about from that. How did that come about?
BB: When we had the tryout there was this marketing company and they helped Tonga and they had this idea to do the name change, because of all this financial stuff. I would say maybe Tonga wouldn't be able to pay all this financial stuff the whole time because now that I agreed to do the name change I think it was a good choice so that right now all the financial stuff is paid for by the sponsor, most of it.
VW: What does it mean for you to have qualified and to know that you're going to be representing your country, representing Tonga, in Russia?
BB: I don't know how to explain it. It's the best thing for me knowing that I finally qualified -that was by biggest goal. Carrying the flag in would be the best moment I think for me.
VW: Obviously the original goal was to qualify. You're there now so have you retargeted or refocused your goals in terms of what you think you might be able to achieve over there?
BB: Qualifying was the best thing for me and the race is a different story because I know my limit and the limit of the best guys in luge, but you never know what's going to happen in the race. Right now I can only pull myself together and keep on training hard and not just sit here and wait for the Olympic Games but what I did the last few years like keep on training hard and pushing myself forward.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: