Country’s leader competing at Commonwealth Games – but can’t stop minnows losing

The Premier of Niue – a small Oceanic island nation – competed for the minnows in lawn bowls at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

54-year-old Dalton Tagelagi was part of Niue's four-man and two-man teams, but he failed to win a single match. The small nation finished bottom of their section in both disciplines of the sport – finishing with a -31 and -58 points difference.

Tagelagi has resided as the Premier of the small nation since June 2020. But even his new role couldn't stop Tagelagi from making the trip to Birmingham after previously competing at both the 2014 games in Glasgow and in 2018 on the Gold Coast.

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Niue is one of the smallest nations competing at the games, and they're located 1,500 miles east of New Zealand.

The 2017 census of the island revealed a population of 1,784 – however, by 2021, that was estimated to have grown by around 200 people. The island falls under the jurisdiction of New Zealand, much like how the UK governs Jersey and Guernsey.

As a result, those who live on the island are also citizens of New Zealand.

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Tagelagi is the 11th Premier of Niue after the island gained its autonomy in 1974 – becoming a free state of New Zealand.

Elections are every three years, and Tagelagi will have to run for his role again in 2023.


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