We are now over halfway through these Commonwealth Games, and we couldn’t be prouder of what our athletes have achieved so far. Just getting to these Games is a feat in itself and every athlete from our 12 Pacific nations in Birmingham should hold their heads high knowing they have the full support from us all.
Family support is a massive part of an athlete's journey on the international stage and for 23-year-old Weightlifter Manine Lynch she had her team and parents in the crowd today for her Women’s 87kg+ Final. As the crowd packed out the Weightlifting arena Manine’s dad spoke to the arena’s compere, he had a special message for his daughter, “we love you Manine and sending you all the power.” As the crowd cheered her dad also gave a shout out to his experience at the Games so far, “we would like to thank the judges, referees, supporters and athletes, you’re doing a great job and Birmingham you have been brilliant.”
Manine walked onto the stage beaming and she then successfully lifted 83kg and 86kg in the snatch section. As she headed into the clean and jerk, team Cook Islands could be heard from across the arena, holding up signs of support for their athlete. In the clean and jerk Manine lifted 111kg and 116kg to finish with a total of 202kg.
For Manine being in Birmingham was a special experience, “it is my first Commonwealth Games and it was just a dream. I think being on the platform with the crowd really hyped me up. It wasn’t a personal best but I just had the best time here.” Being in the final of the Commonwealth Games not only give Manine a major confidence boost but it has a wider impact on Weightlifting for the Cook Islands, “I’m so stoked, we only have three Weightlifters for the Cook Islands at the moment, so I know this is huge for us, because if one of us succeeds, all of us succeed.”
Over at Alexander Stadium, star of the show today for team Cook Islands was Alex Beddoes who was running in the Men’s 800m heats. In his second ever Commonwealth Games the runner made his way around the track to finish in a season's best time of 1:52:72. On representing the Cook Islands Alex said, “it is always an honour to be part of team Cook Islands and whilst I could have done even better, I am proud to represent them.”
Over at the Lawn Bowls it was a mixed day for the team. In the Men’s Singles Phillip Jim beat Kenyan Cephas Kimwaki Kimani 21-17 in a close match. Phillip raced into a 4 - 0 lead before the Kenyan started to make inroads and got within one of Phillip, however the man from the Cooks Islands sealed the win by scoring 3 in the final end. Phillip lost his round three match 21-17 to Todd Priaulx.
The Women’s Triples made up of Emily, Tiare and Teokotai Jim stepped onto the rink to face Botswana in their third-round match. After end two the trio were five to nil up and even though the team from Botswana got themselves on the scoreboard, Cook Islands won 15-13.
In their second round match the Men’s Fours lost the tie 20-10, before they took on David Aitcheson’s Fiji team in round three. The Fijians were leading 8-3 in the 8th end of the match, however, Jason Lindsay’s team then gathered some momentum to win the match 15-10.
Matapa Puia and Nooroa Mataio are the teams Women’s Pairs and they unfortunately lost both of their group matches to Guernsey and Malaysia.
Fijian Tevita Takayawa made it to the bronze medal match in the Men’s -100kg Judo competition. In his first bout against Hansel Adonis of Mauritius, Tevita scored an Ippon 47 seconds into his match to move into the quarterfinals against Canadian Shady Elnahas. The judoka from Fiji lost his quarter-final so moved into the repechage.
In the repechage Indian Deepak Deswal was Tevita’s opponent, and as the match started both judokas looked for the win but it was the Fijian who scored two Waza-ari’s to move into the bronze medal match. Englishman Rhys Thompson was the judoka battling Tevita for bronze on mat 2 at Coventry Arena and unfortunately for team Fiji an Ippon was awarded to Rhys 1 minute into the competition, meaning he goes home with the bronze medal.
Gerrard Takayawa was in action against Giannis Antoniou from Cyprus in the Men’s +100kg Elimination round and unfortunately for team Fiji the Cypriot scored two Waza-ari’s to win the bout.
In the Women’s 87kg+ Weightlifting final Helen Seipua finished 9th with a total of 193kg. During the snatch competition she had two successful lifts with 81kg and 85kg. The clean and jerk was up next where she lifted 102kg and 108kg.
For the final day in the pool team Fiji, made up of Hansel McCaig, Epeli Herbert Rabua, Temafa Yalimaiwai and David Young took part in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay where they finished 4th with a time of 3:57.43 to qualify for the final. In the final the team went even quicker by finishing the final in 7th place with a time of 3:55.31.
Over at the Lawn Bowls Fiji had four teams in action on day 6 of competition, however it was only Women’s Pair Losalini Tukai and Litia Tikoisuva who won a tight match against Northern Ireland. Fiji was 4-0 down after three ends but the team found their form to prevail 17-16.
It was a busy day at the Table Tennis arena as both the Women’s and Men’s singles were in action. Fiji won five matches on the day with Touea Titana, Grace Rosi Yee, Vicky Wu all won one match a piece and Carolyn Li had two wins under her belt.
In the Women’s Singles Touea Titana had a close encounter with Tammi Agari from Papua New Guinea. The Fijian won the first game 18-16, winning 11 points on her own serve. The PNG player then took the next two games 12-19 and 11-9, before Touea got the momentum back as she won games four 12-10 before a more dominant 11-4 win in game five.
Just when it looked as though the Fijian was wrapping up the match Tammi Agari was game 6 with a score line of 11-6. The duo provided the Birmingham crowd a real spectral to watch and ultimately Touea won game seven 11-9 to win the match four games to three. Afterwards Touea said, “it was a really tough match and I was very nervous to compete but happy now.”
Grace Yee won her match versus Vanuatu’s Tracey Mawa four games to one, winning a total of 49 points compared to Mawa’s 38. On her competition so far Grace said, “my experience has been great, everything is amazing from the venue, accommodation and the competition has been fun.”
Team Kiribati have finished their Commonwealth Games campaign with no more athletes scheduled to compete. They’ve had a great games and the whole team should be thrilled with their performances.
There were no athletes competing for Nauru today but we are looking forward to seeing them on the Athletics track tomorrow.
For team Niue they had Lawn Bowls action from their Women’s Pairs, Men’s Singles, Women’s Triples and Men’s Fours team.
Hina Rereiti and skip Olivia Buckingham took on New Zealand pair Selina Goodard and Katelyn Inch. The team from Niue got the first point on the board, before New Zealand took the lead in the end three. Hina and Olivia were determined to push the team all the way and after a few solid ends regained the lead in the tenth end to lead 10-7. The team kicked on to play some exciting ends and in the penultimate end led New Zealand 16-15.
In the final end team New Zealand scored three points to take the win however it was a positive performance by the Niue duo. In their other match of the day the team lost 28-7 to India.
The Women’s Triples and Men’s Fours sadly lost their matches on day 6 of action at the Lawn Bowls.
Elsewhere for team Niue was Tukala Leomotu, who is 14 years old but age is just a number as in his matches today he showed a mass amount of maturity and skill as he took on some equally talented bowlers in the Men’s Singles.
Norfolk Island bowler Ryan Dixon was first up and the Niue teenager had his nose in front from the start of the game, however a few tight ends allowed Ryan to settle into the match and kick on for the win, 21-13. In his second match of the day Tukala lost 21-9 to Wales, however he has put in a series of valiant displays and he has a bright future ahead.
Overall, for team Norfolk Island day six was a strong day on the Victoria Park Lawn Bowling rinks as they won four out of their six matches.
Yesterday Carmen Anderson and Shae Wilson, who make up the Women’s Pairs had a dominant win against the Cook Islands and today they were back on the rink to play their second match against Malta.
Maltese pair Rebecca and Connie-Leigh Rixon scored the first point and got into an 12-8 lead but in the next end the Norfolk Island pair levelled up the scores and then started to take the lead in the match. In the 15th end of the match Carmen and Shea scored five points to lead 20-15 and eventually sealed a 21-18 win.
Ryan Dixon had a mixed day on the rink, first up the bowler secured a 21-13 win over Niue with some steady and accurate bowling to seal the victory. Then in his second match of the day Ryan lost to Canada’s Ryan Brewster.
The Men’s Fours had a similar day, winning and losing one match. First up the team from Malaysia beat Tim Sherdian and his team before the group had a dominant 17-4 win over Brunei. From the very beginning of the match the team from Norfolk Island were in control and by the seventh end were winning 11-0. Whilst their opponents got some points on the board, the team rounded off an excellent display to win.
Fiji’s Women’s Triples were the opponents for Ellie Dixon, Petal Jones and Essie Sanchez in the third round of competition. In a tight match it was team Norfolk Island who prevailed 16-13.
Papua New Guinea
Yesterday saw PNG heptathlete Edna Boadab end day one of the seven event competition with a score of 2619. Picking up where she left off, the young athlete managed 4.77m in her first event of the day, the long jump, bringing her overall score to 3117 points. Going into the sixth event of the day Edna was back on the field for the Javelin, and threw a new personal best of 32.22 metres, earning 519 points to have a new total of 3636.
After two days of giving it her all, it was time for Edna to compete in the final event of the Heptathlon, the 800 metres. As she made her way around the track the crowd got behind all of the athletes to help spur them across the finish line. Edna crossed the line in 2:53.05 to finish the event with a grand total of 4068 points, a new personal best.
Edna wasn’t the only PNG athlete in action at the Alexander Stadium as Emmanuel Wanga took part in the 400m heats. Competing in his first ever Games the 22-year-old finished his heat with a time of 48.23.
At the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre Amity Alarcos and Feonor Siaguru were in Mixed Doubles action for the Squash round of 32. Up against Australian pair Donna Lobban and Cameron Pilley, the PNG duo gave it everything they had to get the win but unfortunately lost their match 11-6, 11-4.
For PNG’s Table Tennis players that were in action for the Singles competition. In the Men’s Singles Geoffrey Loi unfortunately lost both of his matches. Tammi Agari took part in the Women’s Singles and whilst she lost both of her matches the player from Papua New Guinea pushed her opponents all the way, including a tight 4-3 defeat to Fiji’s Touea Titana, a match where both players gave it their all out on the court.
Already in these Games Samoa has taken home two medals from the Weightlifting with Vaipava Nevo Ioane winning in Silver in the Men’s 67kg category and Don Opeloge winning a memorable Gold medal yesterday in the Men’s as he tore up the record book and blew away his competition. Today it was the turn of Don’s younger brother Jack to take to the stage, as he bid to keep up the family tradition of winning Weightlifting medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Jack had an impressive opening first half as he successfully lifted 155kg, 160kg and 164kg to lead the field by 1kg.
With his brother Don backstage helping him prepare for the clean and jerk and the entire Samoan weightlifting contingent in the stands, Jack came out to a rapturous applause. For his first lift Jack cleared 194kg to set up a battle royale between the Samoan Weightlifter and Junior Ngadja Nyabeyeu from Cameroon.
Jack upped his weight for his second lift by 6kg to 200kg, and with the crowd behind him he used his power to punch the bar above his head. As he walked off stage the judges announced the clearance was under review and after some deliberation it was declared it was a no lift. For the final lift Jack upped the weight once more to 201kg but unfortunately Jack wasn’t able to get a clean lift. The Cameroon athlete came out on the stage for the final lift of the competition and successfully cleared 201kg. Jack finished in second place and can proudly take his Silver medal home.
On his success Jack said, “thank you to my country, my grandparents and family for the support. I’m proud, it feels good to get it but next time I’m going to win that Gold by training hard.”
The medals didn’t stop there for team Samoa, as 2018 Commonwealth Champion Feagaiga Stowers took to the stage in the Women’s 87+kg and went up against host nation star Emily Campbell, who was standing in her way of a Gold medal. Dame Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation was in attendance in a packed-out crowd to watch two world class athletes go head to head. Feagaiga started her competition with a success lift of 117kg for the snatch, this was followed by her lift of 121kg beginning declared a no lift. With England’s Emily Campbell lifting the same weight to get a new Commonwealth record, Feagaiga returned to the stage and successfully matched the new record in her third and final attempt. The English weightlifter then went on to get a new record of 124kg, leaving the contest finely balanced going into the clean and jerk round.
During the 10-minute interval between rounds the crowd were in fine voice, knowing both athletes were giving it their all. In the clean and jerk, Feagaiga started strong with an impressive lift of 147kg to get the crowd roaring for more during her next two attempts for Feagaiga she was unable to successfully lift 154kg and with Emily Campbell lifting a new Commonwealth record of 162kg, Feagaiga went home with Silver. Chef Du Mission for team Samoa, Dengue Soonalole-Sam Chong commented on Feagaiga’s success, “she did her best today and she knows that wasn’t her best. I’ve just spoken to her when she came off and gave her a hug, she didn’t feel like she normally does. Overall she has done really well. She took some time off Weightlifting and only came back about 8 months ago and to come back and win Silver is good.”
Petelo Tuiloma Lautusi was the third and final Weightlifter for Samoa. During the snatch the 26-year-old managed to cleanly lift 165kg, leaving him in 4th position heading into the clean and jerk. The Samoan then lifted 201kg and 206kg before a final attempt at 215kg was unsuccessful. A great performance by the Weightlifter meant he finished in 4th place.
For the final day in the pool team Samoa had Brandon Schuster in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley. After a successful meet for the entire team and Brandon he finished with a time of 2:09.85.
Women’s Shot Putter Nu’u Tuilefano threw a distance yesterday of 16.10 to progress to the final of the Shot Put. With a packed out stadium watching the 12 finalists a distance of 15.81 metres was the athletes furthest attempt. It is a great achievement for Nu’u to make it into a final on such a major stage.
Solomon Islands had players in the Men’s and Women’s Table Tennis Singles today with Gary Nuopula, Noela Olo and Connie Sifi representing their country in the tournament.
Connie Sifi was the first player on court against Canadian Katherine Morin. The 35 year old gave it her all as she tried to go paddle to paddle with the athlete from Canada. Unfortunately Connie’s opponent won the match four games to nil. Connie came out for her second match ready to take on Bangladesh athlete Sonam Sultana. The opposition won the first three games of the match, and in the fourth game it was a close affair as Connie played some clever shots to get close down the score lines, unfortunately it wasn’t to be and the player from Bangladesh won the game to take the match.
Reflecting on her time at the Games Connie said, “it was very tough for me. It is my first time competing in the Commonwealth Games. I’m going to go back and do more practice so I can still play matches with these international players.”
For the rest of Connie’s team they faced similar results with Noela Olo and Gary Nuopula losing their opening round. Team Solomon Islands Table Tennis team have been fantastic role models on never giving up to pursue your dreams and reaching the Commonwealth Games is a fantastic achievement.
Tomorrow we can expect to see Solomon Islands in the Athletics, Beach Volleyball and Mixed Doubles Table Tennis.
It has been a busy meet for team Tonga and Charissa Panuve, whose last race at the Commonwealth Games came in the Women’s 400m Freestyle. The Tongan was the quickest off the block as she completed the eight-length race in a time of 5:13:63 in a new personal best.
Yesterday shot putter Ata Maama Tuutafaiva threw a distance of 15.37m to make into the final and as they walked out into the field today it must have hit home that she is amongst some of the best shot putters in the Commonwealth. In the final Ata threw a season's best of 16.30 metres, her third furthest ever time.
In the Men’s 109kg Weightlifting final Sio Talakai Pomelile took to the stage for Tonga. In the snatch section of the contest his first lift of 140kg was his only successful lift. Heading into the clean and jerk the Tongan came out to cheers from the crowd to help give him the drive to succeed further. Sio lifted 170kg at the first time of asking before adding an additional 10kg onto the bar. After lifting the 180kg, Sio had a total of 320kg and an 8th placed finish.
Later in the day at the 87+kg final Kuinini Manumua had an entirely clean round as she successfully completed 6 lifts. With the crowd behind her Kuinini lifted 101kg, 104kg and 107kg to go into the clean and jerk in 3rd position. Joined by her coaches on the sidelines encouraging her to push harder Kuinini then lifted 121kg, 125kg and 128kg to finish the final in 5th overall. After her competition Kuinini said, “I feel amazing and I’m really pleased with the performance. I had a personal best snatch and personal best overall total for the competition, I couldn't be more happy.” and even though it is a competition Kuinini says the atmosphere amongst everyone really helps settle the nerves, “in the back we all support each other, these groups of girls are amazing to lift against and some of the friendliest people I know.”
At their first Commonwealth Games Tuvalu pair Saaga Malosa and Ampex Isaac arrived on the world stage to prove they belonged in the Men’s Beach Volleyball and in their pool games they certainly showed they do belong.
In their final game of the qualifying round they went up against Cyprus pair Antonios Liotatis and Charalambos Zorbis. Saaga scored the first point in play and from that point onwards the Tuvalu men went toe to toe with their opponents with a series of rallies that thrilled the Birmingham crowd. The Cyprus duo took the lead, but that didn’t stop Ampex and Saaga trying to get back on par. Unfortunately, the duo took the first set 21-13.
The second set was even closer, despite Cyprus taking the first point the teams traded points. In the end Cyprus won 21-7.
Ampex Isaac, reflecting on their experience “It was quite interesting, enjoyable. Also, we’re so excited to be competing at this level, it’s our first time.”
“This has been the biggest event for us, the Commonwealth, for the first time. We’ve been competing in the Pacific games or only in the Pacific regent, it’s been great to be here with everyone, with all the other Commonwealth countries.”
What a great first Games for the pair, we can't wait to see what they achieve in the future.
At the age of 19, 400m runner Obediah Timbaci took to the track at his maiden Commonwealth Games. Starting in lane three the athlete from Vanuatu powered around the track to cross the line in a season's best 51.62. The time is the 4th quickest Obediah has ever run the 400m and after his race he said, “It was a very tough race, because this is my first time coming out and competing at the Games. When I go back home, I’ll train even harder. I feel good because I have never been to the UK before, and this is my first time travelling around the world.
It was Men’s quarter-final day for the Men’s -90kg judokas, including Vanuatu’s
Marius Metois Van who took on home favourite Jamal Petgrave. On mat 2 the judokas bowed before the match started and as the pair moved around the ring Jamal scored a Waza-ari meaning he was halfway to victory. Just a few seconds later the Englishman scored a second Waza-ari taking the victory and sending Marius into the repechage for a bronze medal.
In his bronze medal battle, Marius put up a valiant effort against Aussie Harrison Cassar and despite losing the bout, Marius should be thrilled with his efforts in Birmingham.
In Birmingham’s NEC Table Tennis players Roanna Abel, Travey Mawa, and Stephanie Qwea were all in first round action in the Women’s singles.
To start the day Roanna Abel took on Nigeria Esther Oribamise and Bangladesh, losing both of her opening matches.
In an exciting match on court 7 Stephanie Qwea took on Fiji’s Carolyn Li, the players traded points in game 1 in a tight battle that ended up going to Fiji 14-12. Carolyn Li went 2-0 up as she won the next game 11-6, but then Vanuatu’s Stephanie Qwea gained momentum in the match to seal game three 11-8. The pendulum swung back towards the Fijian who took game four 11-4 before Stephanie rallied again to steal a tight fifth game 11-6, forcing a deciding 6 game. With an enthused crowd watching on, the pair pushed their performances up to the next level as they swapped points and the Fijian edged the match. Stephanie lost both of her other matches across the day.
There was another thrilling match between Vanuatu and Fiji as Tracey Mawa took on Grace Rosi Yee. The first game of the tie was the closest with it going in favour of the Fijian, but in game two Tracey stepped up another level to seal a dominant game 11-3, with the longest rally being 10 shots. Grace took the remaining games to seal a victory.
After the match Tracey said, “this is my first Commonwealth Games and it is quite nerve racking for me. It is a different environment and atmosphere to what I am used to back in my country.” Tracey said her role model for getting into Table Tennis was in fact her opponent Grace’s sister Sally Yee. “I like her and look up to her most of the time, she is my role model.”
It has been another busy and fantastic day for our Oceania athletes at these 22nd Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Our athletes have shown a great determination to make it to these Games and represent their countries, in a sport they love. What our teams are achieving is helping shape our sporting legacy for years to come. The future for Oceania sport is bright and we can’t wait to see what the final few days of the Games has in store.
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