News & Updates

10 February 2021 • Track and Field

Q and A with Symone Tafuna’i

Next up to answer our Q and A questions is 22-year-old Auckland-based sprinter Symone Tafuna’i, who recently set an impressive 100m PB of 11.83 and formerly represented New Zealand at the 2016 World U-20 Championships.

Why did you start athletics? 

Growing up my older sister used to do a lot of sports such as netball, swimming and athletics. I wanted to be just like my sister, so at the age of three, my mum put me in my local club, Avondale Athletics, just behind our house. I basically just copied whatever my sister did!

What was the last piece of athletics advice you received? 

“Don’t think, just run”- James Mortimer (my coach).

What has been your career highlight? 

Representing New Zealand at the 2016 World U-20 Championships in Poland. I was a member of the women’s 4x100m relay team as well as captain of the team too.

What has been your athletics low? 

I have had my fair share of lows in athletics, I think one of my lowest was missing out on the women’s 4x100m relay team for the 2019 World University Games. I was just coming out of one of my worst injuries, tearing my post-tibial tendonitis. It was extremely hard to watch from the sidelines but I was also super happy for the girls and their results.

Where do you see your athletics career ten years from now? 

Hopefully, I will have achieved the goals I have set up for myself and be generally happy and proud of my own journey within athletics. 

What is your greatest mistake in athletics? 

My greatest mistake is ‘self-doubt’, I tend to overthink a lot. I still do, but I’m working on it.

Which athlete is the most interesting to follow on social media? 

I don’t have a specific athlete who I find interesting. But I thoroughly enjoy keeping up with my fellow track and field peers on social media.

Do you have a favourite athletics social media post? 

Definitely! My favorite athletics post was captured at the 2019 New Zealand Track and Field Championships, I face planted and slid across the line in the 100m final. That was a very painful and humbling experience. To this day, I still crack up about it even though it did hurt my dignity (a lot).

If you could change one thing about the sport, what would it be and why? 

To have more relay opportunities. The women’s team has a lot of potential.

Which athlete do you most admire from your event? 

I admire all my mates who compete in both the 100m and 200m. Not only do we push each other to race at the best of our ability, we have also cultivated a culture where we respect one another and that itself is very admirable.

Outside of athletics what is your greatest accomplishment this year? 

I will be graduating from University of Auckland this year with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in communications. I was also very fortunate to land myself my dream job working for TVNZ.

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school? 

I was playing dodgeball in class and I woke up on the floor because one of my guy mates threw the ball to my face and knocked me out. When I recovered I shared a few or multiple colourful words with him!

If you were an animal, what would you be and why? 

I would be a giraffe or a sloth. I think I relate to a sloth more because they like to sleep a lot and so do I. I love napping.

Do you have a nickname? 

Yes, everyone calls me Symmy!

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why? 

To not be lactose intolerant because I like cheese and chocolate milk. Or to be invisible, for no reason really, I just think it would be crack up.

Where do you see yourself when you are 50? 

I honestly feel 50 now, I stay in my room and keep to myself for fun. And don’t get me started with the ongoing back problems I have lol.

What is the most ridiculous fact you know? 

When you hit your funny bone, it’s not actually funny.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be and why? 

For people to be kinder to themselves and one another. It’s not hard to be nice.

If you could host a talk show what three guests would you invite and why?

Beyonce, Rihanna and my mum because all three are a bunch of ‘baddies’.