Kasete Skeen has quit his job and taken up full-time training as he bids to become the first person to represent the tropical island in an Olympic alpine ski discipline.
The 34-year-old, who qualifies to compete for the South Pacific state through his father, is determined to give it his best shot and take part in the giant slalom in Pyeongchang .
He took up the sport in his late 20s and is aware of the challenge ahead.
Speaking to getwestlondon from a training camp in the Alps he said: “I’m not someone that’s been skiing all their life.
"I know I’ve got a mountain to climb, and I don’t just mean literally.”
He would not hit the slopes again until he would accompany his girlfriend and her family on their annual ski trips.
Over the years he improved but it was a chance comment to friends that set him on his Olympic dream.
He said: “As a joke I one day said I would ski for Tonga, and my friends thought I should do it but I brushed it aside.
“Then I went away on a ski trip and thought maybe this is something I could do.”
This happened less than a year ago. Since then, Kasete quit his job of nine years at Opera Holland Park and is now rarely home.
He said: “There are a lot of sacrifices to make. I’m away a lot.
“I’m currently in Austria for six weeks, then Sweden for a month and four months in Italy, before I head to New Zealand to train in the southern hemisphere winter.
“My girlfriend is still in London working and my friends and family are there too.
"At the moment I’m in a small apartment in the Alps on my own.
"I’ve gone from being surrounded by houses to being surrounded my mountains.”
And he is aware of the improvements he still needs to make: “I was a reasonable recreational skier but there’s a big leap between that and throwing yourself down a mountain at 100mph and really going for it.
Kasete has until about a month before the start of the games to achieve the points total needed to qualify, and he knows it’s not going to be easy.
He said: “I’m training every day to get myself up to standard.
"I’m doing basic technique training, then race training in a few weeks time.
"Then I’ll be racing in January.
“My coach has told me if I work hard and do the right stuff I will be able to qualify.”
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