Even though the number of days left at these Commonwealth Games is dwindling, the competition is still as hot as ever, with dozens of our athletes still to compete in sports like Athletics, Para Powerlifting, Table Tennis, Lawn Bowls and Boxing we can expect some incredible results over the next few days.
Over at the Lawn Bowls the Cook Islands Women’s Triples, made up of Emily, Teokotai and Tiare Jim finished top of their group with a 100% win record. The trio went into their quarter-final against Fiji, high on confidence and the team of Emily, Tiare and Teokotai Jim starting the game well by scoring two points in the first end.
Fiji’s team then won three points on the next end to take the lead and by the fifth end they were tied on 6 points each. Team Cooks then powered on in the match to take the lead and they didn’t let up. In the twelfth end Teokotai’s team won four points to be on the cusp of victory at 19-7.
Whilst Fiji had a mini fightback, Cook Islands sealed a 23-12 victory to set up a semi-final against host nation England.
In the Men’s Singles match Phillip Jim took on Jason Evans from South Africa and despite giving it his all Phillip lost the match 21-9.
For the final match in Women’s Pairs qualification stage, Cook Islands team Nooroa Mataio and skip Ruia Matapa took Rebecca and Connie-Leigh Rixon from Malta. On rink five it was the opponents who scored the first point, before the team of Nooroa and Matapa scored an impressive four points in the following end. Malta then levelled the match leaving it on a knife edge.
On the sixth end Nooroa and Matapa scored five points during the end to lead the match 11-5 and the pair continued to add to their points total. The match finished 22-15.
In the boxing ring Michael Schuster from the Cook Islands fought Duken Holo Tutakitoa-Williams from Niue in the Men’s over 86kg-92kg Heavyweight quarter final. Both teams had their fans cheering them on from the crowd and as the bell rang both fighters danced around the ring to get the win.
At the end of round one it was the Niue athlete in the red corner who the judges had in the lead, and in the second round that referee stopped the contest and Duken was declared the winner.
Team Fiji already has three medals in these Commonwealth Games and at the Alexander Stadium this evening Fiji’s Naibili Vatunisolo added to that tally by winning bronze in the Women’s Discus Throw F42-44/61-/64.
The Women all had six attempts at throwing their furthest distance and for the Fijian it was her third-round attempt of 23.70m that sealed the medal. Not only does Naibili go home with a medal but a new personal best throw. It was a great achievement from Naibili and she should be thrilled that she has ended up on the podium.
In the first heat of the Men’s 1500m Yeshnil Karan, who was making his debut at the Commonwealth Games joined a packed field in the marquee middle distance event. The group bunch up after the starting gun started as they made their way around the track nearly four times to the finish. Yeshnil crossed the finish line in a time of 4:04.22. On his performance Yashnil said, “I feel very good and blessed for this opportunity. Thanks to my parents and my coaches for helping with training and preparation.”
Over at the Table Tennis, Fiji had three teams competing in the Mixed Double competition, first up Titana Touea and Stephen Reilly took on Seychelles Mick Creae and Laura Sinon. It was a tight affair as team Fiji won the first game 11-9, before their opponents captured game two.
In the third game of the contest Fiji were dominant losing only 1 point on their own serve to win 11-3 After this, Seychelles took the final two games to win 3-2.
Vicky Wu and Grace Rose Yee were the next pair on court in the Mixed Doubles Round of 64. The team put on a brilliant performance to beat their Kenyan counterparts 3-1. In the first game the team won 11-7, including winning 4 consecutive points and 6 points on their own serve. The team then sealed game two; 11-9 before their opponent took game three.
In the final game of the match Fiji won 8 points on their own serve as they won 14-12. The pair lost their round of 32 match 3-1.
Li Carolyn and Jai Chauhan lost their round of 64 Mixed Doubles matches and the teams in the Women’s Double and Men’s Doubles faced the same result.
At the Lawn Bowls, Women’s Triples were in a quarter final battle with fellow Pacific nation Cook Islands. Both teams entered rink 11 hoping that they would be competing in the semi-final tomorrow morning. Cook Islands won the first points of the match but in the second end Fiji’s team of skip Sheral Mar, Radhika Prasad and Loreta Kotoisuva won three points to take the lead.
The teams then traded points and by end five that were level 6-6. Cooks Islands then pushed on to get a 19-7 lead. Fiji’s team gave it their all to get back level but unfortunately the Cooks Islands advanced to the semi-final.
Fiji’s Men’s Singles entrant Semesa Naiseruvati had two matches in the Men’s Singles on the rink. First up for the Fijian was Englishman Jamie Walker and unfortunately the match ended up in a 21-11 defeat. For his second match of the day, Semesa took on Jamaica’s Robert Simpson, and the experienced Fijian won the first point, before his opponent took a 4-1.
Semesa soon found his rhythm, as his bowls were gliding across the greens and he was quickly back in front to lead 6-4 in the sixth end. Semesa had the lead and he wasn’t going to let it go, as he scored four points in seventh end and didn’t look back. The Fijian continued to apply pressure to his competition, scoring another four points in end eleven, before sealing a victory in the thirteenth end, with a scoreline of 21-4.
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.
Team Nauru had entered Jired Agege in the Men’s 200m, however the athlete did not make it to the start line.
Team Niue had a big night in the boxing ring with two athletes in quarter final action and if one of them won their match they would be guaranteed a medal, a first for the island.
First up was Xavier Mata-afa-Ikinofo who stepped into the ring against India’s Rohit Tokas and it was a close affair. With some thrilling combinations and precise movement around the ring, the two boxers created a perfect match for the fans to enjoy.
The high quality bout went the distance and it was the athlete from India who was awarded the win on judges points.
The second match of the night came in the Men’s Over 86kg-92kg Heavyweight division, with Duken Holo Tutakitoa-Williams taking on Cook Islands Michael Schuster for a place in the semi-finals. In the red corner Duken came out swinging, with both boxers giving it their all to claim the victory.
At the end of round one all of the judges had Niue’s boxer in the lead and in round 2 the momentum stayed with Duken. With some strong blows to the boxer from the Cook Islands the referee stopped the contest and Niue had a Boxing semi-finalist.
Duken has won Niue’s first ever Commonwealth medal, a huge feat that we are incredibly proud of. It doesn’t stop there though and on Saturday he has the chance to win his way into the Gold medal match when he takes on Samoa’s Ato Leau Poldzicki-Faoagali.
At Victoria Park, home of the Lawn Bowls for the last week team Niue have put in some brilliant performances in what has been a first Commonwealth Games for many. Amongst the team was 14-year-old Tukala Tagelagi, who performed alongside his dad, Niue Premier Dalton Tagelagi in the Men’s Pairs earlier in the Games. Despite his age Tukala has been inspiring the next generation of Lawn Bowlers and proves that anything is possible.
The teenager has put in strong performances to that show he is ready to compete on the world stage.
In his final match of the tournament Tukala went head-to-head with Northern Ireland's Gary Kelly on rink 9. The Northern Irish bowler got off to a quick start winning three points in the first end, however Tukala didn’t let that stop his own game plan and over the next few ends was able to steal a few points and draw himself level.
Then in the fourth end of the match Tukala played some brilliant bowls, as he outwitted his opponent to win four points and take the lead 7-3. The young athlete then kicked on to win two points in the next end, before capitalising on the momentum in end 7, capturing four points to storm into a 13-4 lead.
With a convincing scoreline for team Niue, the Northern Irish player then strung together his own run of points scoring to draw that level 14-14 in end 12.
For the final few ends it was Gary Kelly who had the momentum and sealed a 21-14 victory. The teenager put in a great performance to finish his first Commonwealth Games knowing he gave it his all and really pushed his fellow bowlers.
It has been a busy Commonwealth Games for team Norfolk Island at the Lawn Bowls with a series of strong performances from their bowlers.
Today Shea Wilson and Carmen Anderson were in Women’s Pairs action. First up for the duo were team Guernsey, who won the match 20-10, meaning to seal a quarter-final spot, Norfolk Island needed to win their match.
Taking on Malaysian pair Emma Saroji and Siti Zalina Ahmad, Shae and Carmen lost the first end 4-0, so had it all to do to get back level.
In the following ends Shae and Carmen made back some ground in the fourth end won 4 points to take the lead 7-4. The pair then pushed on and used their momentum to have some decisive ends. After six ends Shea and Emma were leading 11-4 and their impressive form continued as they racked up the points.
The crowd were treated to a fine display and in round 10 the Norfolk Island pair won a massive six points to lead 20-8. The Malaysian did win a few ends to close up the scoreboard but ultimately the work Shea and Carmen put in paid off and they sealed a 22-17 win and head into the quarter finals to take on Australia.
In the only other match of the day Ryan Dixon lost 21–11 to Daniel Salmon, but gave it all in a challenging match.
On day 6 of these games multieventer Edna Boadab competed in the Women’s Heptathlon, setting a new personal best score. Today it was the turn of Iga Karo in the Men’s Decathlon.
First up for the athlete from PNG was the 100m, starting in lane 2 the athlete burst out of the blocks and finished in a new PB of 10.94, his first ever time under 11 seconds, a great way to start his competition.
Next up for Iga was the long jump and a distance of 6.95m saw him score 802 points, this was followed up by another PB in the Shot Put with his farthest throw measuring at 11.05m. For the fourth event of the day the field took on the high jump and a solid jump of 1.91m saw Iga secure another 723 points.
In the final event of the day the PNG Decathlete took on the 800m and as he has done in two events already today he scored another PB with a time of 48.61. A very impressive day one for Iga, who sits on 3838 points heading into tomorrow.
Away from the Decathlon, Toea Wisil, Leonie Beu and Isila Apkup all took part in the Women’s 200m. A third place or above finish would see the athletes qualify straight through to the next round. Toea was the quickest of the blocks in her heat as she flew round the bend to finish in a time of 24.42 second in third place meaning she automatically qualified for the next round.
It is Toea’s first Commonwealth Games and she is pleased with her performance, “I’m happy with that time. It has been a long season, I’ve done a lot of racing in the US, followed by the Mini Games and a few injuries but I’ve pushed through it and I’m happy with the time.”
Leonie Beu finished her 200m heat in a time of 25.29 and Isila Apkup finished in 24.97.
In the Men’s 200m Lerou Kamau finished his heat in 3rd place with a time of 21.67, whilst in heat 5 Jonathan Dende scored a new PB of 22.41 to his heat to finish in 6th place. Despite setting a new personal best Jonathan felt there was more to give, “that was good, I’m happy with my result and my new PB. I need to work on my finish as I feel that I am tightening up so there is more to be done but overall I’m happy.”
Over in the boxing hall Neville Warupi was back out into the ring for quarter final action in the Men’s Over 63.5-67kg Welterweight division, against Scotland Tyler Jolly.
The crowd were thoroughly entertained in a match that had it all. Both fighters land key blows on each other throughout the round to make it a difficult decision for the judges. In the first round all of the judges awarded it to the Scottish boxer, but in the second round four out of the five thought Neville landed the most crucial blows. The final round was on a knife edge but ultimately the judges awarded Tyler Jolly the win.
Jamie Chang was competing for PNG in the Men’s Bantamweight category in these Games and faced a tough bout against Welshman Owain Harris-Allan. Unfortunately for Jamie, all of the judges had Owain scoring higher than him in the bout meaning he exited at the quarter final stage.
Arthur Lavalou faced a similar result in the Men’s Heavyweight division as the referee stopped the match and awarded the win to England’s Lewis Williams.
On the Squash court Feonor Siaguru and Madako Suari were in Men’s doubles action as they took on the pair from New Zealand. It was a close contest with New Zealand edging the bout 11-8, 11-9 but there are plenty of positives to take away from the performance put in by the athletes.
The same can be said for Geoffrey Loi and Tammi Agari who took on home favourites Tom Jarvis and Charlotte Bardsley in the Table Tennis Mixed Doubles. Despite a valiant effort from the pair the home nation duo won the match 3-0.
It was quarter-final day at the NEC Boxing arena and Samoa had Ato Leau Plodzicki-Faaoagali and Marion Ah Tong in action.
In the Men’s Heavyweight Ato took on Andy Andall from Grenada and it was a dominant performance from the Samoan. During the first round Ato had some great movement and delivered key punches to unnerve his opponent, this included a knock down.
During the second round after another knockdown the referee stopped the contest and Ato moved into the semi-finals, where he is guaranteed at least a bronze medal. In the next round he will face Xavier Mata-afa-Ikinofo from Niue. Ato’s performance today was exemplary, and we are looking forward to watching the semi-final on Saturday.
Marion Tong stepped into the ring to take on United Republic of Tanzania boxer Kassim Mbundwike in the 67kg-71kg Light Middle division. The bout started strong from the Samoan athlete, who was leading the judges scores after round one, but the momentum swung towards his opponent in round 2. In round three the referee stopped the contest and unfortunately Marion exited the competition.
On the track today team Samoa had three athletes taking part in the Men’s 200m heats. With the fun glaring down on the Birmingham crowd, Johnny Key was the first up in heat 3, and after a quick start Johnny was in 4th position as the athletes ran through 50m.
With a strong finish the Samoan finished in a time of 22.38. Unfortunately for 18-year-old William Hunt he was disqualified from his heat.
In the 7th heat of the 200 metres Jeremy Dodson was in lane 4 and was quick off the blocks with a reaction time of 0.145seconds. As he powered round the bend, down the 100m straight to finish in a time of 21.46, just shy of his season's best of 21.29 seconds.
Solomon Islands duo Hannah U’una and Rose Gwali were in action in their final group match of the Women’s Beach Volleyball. Vanuatu and England had already sealed the win, however a spot in the quarter finals could still be won if either Scotland or Solomon Islands won by two sets to nil.
Hannah and Rose won the toss and chose to serve first and a shot off the net meant Scotland scored the first point and then ran into a seven to nil lead at the change of ends.
At 9-0 the Solomon Islands pair called a time out, which inspired three consecutive points in the match.
Rose Gwali scored a shot that was described as ‘exhibition stuff’, as the teams started trading points a technical time out was called at 16-6. On the return of action Scotland sealed the set 21-6.
Solomon Islands won the two points of the second set, including an ace serve by Rose Gwali. The team had a much better start to the second set and the pair were covering the court to keep the ball in play to get a three-point lead 6-3. The Scottish duo then levelled up the scores and at the second change of ends it was 7-7, with the second set nicely poised. At 9-7 Rose and Hannah won a wonderful rally, where they showed their class, which forced the Scottish pair to call a timeout.
After the time out the team from Solomon Islands then opened up a four-point gap to lead 12-8. Throughout the second set the momentum swung back and forth between the team and Scotland capitalised to sneak into the lead 14-13. After trading more points to be level 16-16, Scotland went on another winning streak to take the set and match.
It was a valiant effort from the Solomon Islands pair and they should be proud of the performances they’ve put in this tournament.
At Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium James Mebupe was on track in the Men’s 200m, with a packed Alexander Stadium. In lane 7 the 24-year-old burst out of the blocks and got in his rhythm finishing the race in a time of 23.56, less than 0.1 seconds off his season's best.
It was time for the Mixed Doubles competition in Table Tennis with Connie Difi and Gary Nuopula in action against Guyana duo Shemarr Britton and Chelsea Edghill. The pair won the first game 11-7, playing some cleverly crafted shots and winning 8 points on their own serve. After that it was the team from Guyana who dominated the match as they won the next three games, taking the match. In the other match of the day Olo Noela took on Australia’s Lei Li Na, but unfortunately lost the match 3-0.
Tonga had no athletes competing today and will be back in action tomorrow in the Wrestling.
Team Tuvalu have made their whole nation proud with the performances that they have produced during the Commonwealth Games. With competition now over for the Island nation, we want to say thank you to all the athletes who pushed themselves above and beyond to reach new heights.
In Birmingham’s evening sun Vanuatu had a thrilling encounter with host nation England, with both teams undefeated and both teams yet to drop a set. With Vanuatu and England having 100% records, the winner would top the group and have a more favourable draw.
The pair embraced ahead of the start of the match and England were the first to serve, but Vanuatu opened the scoring.
Early on Miller Pata and Sherysyn Toko showed their hitting prowess as they spiked several shots past England’s players, as the pair won 4 points in a row to take a 5-1 lead. England struck back just before the changeover, but that didn’t stop captain Sherysyn hit back to back aces to take their lead to 9-3. So far in this match Vanuatu showed their class, with slick passes between the players.
Daisy Mumby and Jessica Grimson managed to string a few points together but Vanuatu continued to dominate in the match, and by playing flawless Volleyball, they opened a 10 point lead. With 28 points played the pair had won 19 of them then hit their 20th for set point, which they sealed at the first time of asking.
Heading into the second set Miller and Sherysyn were in complete control. The pair continued to play some beautiful volleyball. During the start of the second set the teams traded points in the early stages, before England took a 7-4 lead.
The host nation team then extended their second set lead to 11-6, this led to Sherysyn and Miller calling a timeout. The team talk worked as after the break they won four consecutive points to make it a one-point game before a technical timeout, leaving set two in the balance.
Over the rest of the set, both teams put on a show of high quality. Miller and Sherysyn had not led for the entire second set, but clever play gave the Vanuatu duo. After a timeout the pair got a match point opportunity, which England managed to fend off and on the second time of asking an error by the opposition meant Vanuatu sealed the second set 21-19.
The match showed why Vanuatu won bronze at the last Commonwealth Games and why they are tipped for further success in these games.
Birmingham’s NEC played host to the Para Powerlifting Women’s Heavyweight Final that included Vanuatu’s Elie Enock. All the athletes get three lifts and the winners are determined based on who lifts the heaviest weight. Elie had three attempts at 68kg and was successful on her third attempt.
On the Athletics track, Vanuatu’s 17-year-old sprint star Chloe David set a new personal best in the 100m earlier in the meet and today it was time for the 200 metre heats. With a reaction time of 0.183 seconds, the young star was explosive out of the blocks and made her way around the bend onto the 100m straight, she crossed the line in a time of 26.75 seconds, just shy of her personal best of 26.52, she set earlier this year.
For Chloe the Birmingham crowds have helped her through her competition, “it is a hard race to run because it is all about planning. I was going for a PB, that I didn’t achieve but it was ok because it was a good race. The crowd is so supportive and cheers us on. They give me a massive boost to get to that finish line.”
Obediah Timbaci was the second athlete for Vanuatu in track action today, in the Men’s 200m heats and the teenager impressed as he ran 23.45, close to his personal best of 23.32.
It has been a busy day for team Oceania and much like these entire games our athletes have taken their performances to the next level and as some of our countries get ready to head home we want to say a massive well done to each and every athlete for the excitement and inspiration they are creating. We aren’t done yet and with several sports reaching their thrilling conclusions over the next few days we can’t wait to see what happens.
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