Lawn bowler to fly Niuean flag at Commonwealth Games

Niuean lawn bowler Olivia Buckingham has been selected as her country's flag bearer for this week's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

25th July, 2022

Matt Manukuo in Dunedin

Lawn bowler to fly Niuean flag at Commonwealth Games

​Olivia Buckingham (right) celebrates during the Australian Open in June. Photo/Olivia Buckingham Facebook

Niuean lawn bowler Olivia Buckingham has been selected as her country's flag bearer for this week's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The reigning Australian Open pairs champion will fly the flag for Niue's team of 14 competing at the games, alongside boxer Travis Tapatuetoa.​

Buckingham says she is proud to represent Niue and her sport of lawn bowls. 

"It’s a special thing. I’m emotional but I’m also happy that I can do this for my family. 

"I do it for lawn bowls, I do it for those who have supported me, I do it for my nation because we’re not recognised on the bowling greens."

Buckingham won the pairs event at the Australian Open in June, alongside her Tongan partner Paris Baker.

Lawn bowler to fly Niuean flag at Commonwealth Games

​Olivia Buckingham (left) and Tongan bowler Paris Baker after winning the Australian Open pairs event in June. Photo/Olivia Buckingham Facebook

​She says her victory helped put Niue on the map.

"If I didn’t lift that flag in the Australian Open, nobody would know where Niue was. 

"People were coming to me saying, 'Where’s that flag from? Where is it situated? We’ve never seen it. We’ve never heard anyone speak that language before.'

"And I said, 'It’s just a little rock, a little dot that nobody knows about. But I hope you know about it now.'"

Buckingham will be participating in the singles and pairs events for lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games, which starts on Friday (NZT).

She says she is dedicating her performance to everyone who has supported her bowling career. 

"All the bowls that I play, I play it for my people. My family, my friends, my brother and sister who are bowlers. 

"It’s a big thing for me, and it’s how I carry myself because I don’t want to let them down."

Lawn bowler to fly Niuean flag at Commonwealth Games

​Niue's 2022 Commonwealth Games team before flying out to Birmingham. Photo/Team Niue B2022 Facebook