Teen secures bronze

Gloves off: Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali was proud to represent his father's home country of Samoa at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas. Picture: Simon Bennett
Gloves off: Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali was proud to represent his father's home country of Samoa at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas. Picture: Simon Bennett

Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali came back from the Caribbean last month with a shiny new piece of bling around his neck.

The Macquarie Fields resident picked up a bronze medal in the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games at the end of July.

Competing in the 81kg boxing division, the 18-year-old was narrowly defeated by a boxer from Scotland.

“The Scottish guy beat me in a controversial decision,” he said.

“But that’s just boxing, what can you do?”

It was a unanimously-decided victory against Trinidad that secured Plodzicki-Faoagali’s bout against the Scotsman.

The former Goulburn local said he felt the preliminary bout was a “pretty convincing win”.

“It was great feeling fighting in front of hundreds of people,” he said.

“I got to fight with the best of the best.”

Plodzicki-Faoagali trains out of the Macquarie Fields Leisure Centre, despite it not being equipped with boxing gear.

He would train two or three times a day, in one-and-a-half-hour sessions, to prepare for the rigours of the Youth Commonwealth Games.

The teen said competing in last year’s world championships was the closest he had come to the size of July’s event.

“The world champs were in Russia,” he said.

“It was a bit different, going from the snow to the heat.

“The Bahamas felt like a holiday.”

Plodzicki-Faoagali said his family – including his trainer father Steven – were a huge support.

“When I finished my last bout they all did a Samoan haka,” he said.

“It was quite a scene.”

Plodzicki-Faoagali has been involved with boxing his whole life but only started fighting four years ago.

He loves being able to travel and meet new people “just doing what I love”.

The TAFE student – currently studying to be a personal trainer – represented Samoa, his father’s home country, at the games after narrowly missing out on the Australian Squad.

Plodzicki-Faoagali said he needed to “figure out for himself” which country he felt more comfortable representing in future endeavours.