We have had 8 days of competition so far and our athletes have given us 8 days of glorious action, as they have been competing at the highest level. For the final few days of competition, the sportspeople taking part are sure to inspire not only their nation but the entire Commonwealth that anything is possible.
Yesterday the Cook Islands Women’s Triples team of Emily, Tiare and Teokotai Jim were in impressive form as they beat Fiji 23-12 in the Lawn Bowls quarter final. Today the team were hoping that they could maintain their 100% record when they took on England in the semi final.
The host nation took the first end to lead 2-0, before Cook Islands drew level. In an exciting contest there were several close calls, as both teams wanted to advance to the Gold medal match. The crowd were treated to a thrilling match but it was team England, led by Sian Honnor who had the edge as they pieced together consecutive point scoring ends to lead 10-5.
The team rallied and won three points in end 12 to bring the score to 14-8, the team backed this up by winning back-to-back ends before England regained the momentum to take control of the match 22-11. In the end of the game, England scored one point, taking the victory, meaning Cook Islands moved into the bronze medal playoff.
Post-match Emily said, “we are disappointed, we know we can do better and some ends were off. We will have to be better this afternoon when we return to the greens.”
Over the course of this entire competition the Pacific Islands have thrilled the crowds that have watched on in Victoria Park and Tiare said it shows the strength of Lawn Bowls in the Pacific, “It’s been good to see Pacific island nations all moving forward in Lawn Bowls. NZ, Aus, Fiji, Norfolk Island and of course, Nuie have been great examples.’
Later in the day the team were back out on the green, to take on fellow Pacific Island New Zealand for the bronze medal.
The team's opponents struck first racing into an 8-0 lead by end three. Emily’s team then got on the board, scoring two points in the fourth end. New Zealand then took charge again by extending their lead. Team Cook Islands put up a valiant fight as they tried to get back level against New Zealand, however the match finished 23-6 to the All Blacks.
It has been a great Lawn Bowls tournament from the Cook Islands with plenty of positives to take home and some brilliant individual and team performances.
Team Fiji had no athletes competing on day 8 of the Commonwealth Games. The final athlete to take centre stage will be long distance runner Yeshnil Karan, who will be on the track in the 5000m final.
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.
It was time for the Wrestling competition to start at these Commonwealth Games, as Lowe Bingham was flying the flag for Nauru.
In the Men’s Freestyle 65kg 1/8 final he went head-to-head with Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia. In the head-to-head the wrestlers moved around the ring trying to outwit their opponent. The wrestler from India scored the first points of the match with a takedown and quickly followed it up with a second to lead 4-0. As Lowe tried to get back level Bajrang managed to pin his shoulders to the ground, ending the match. Lowe moved into the repechage, still with an opportunity to medal.
After the first round Lowe reflected on competing at the Games and what it means for Nauru wrestling, “it is an honour to wrestle with Bajrang, he is a World and Olympic medallist, so it is a good experience for me and I know I need to do more to develop. I’m the first Nauru wrestler and I’ve been trying to find a coach as I’ve been self-training a lot, I’ve been travelling the world to try and develop some more so we can have a brighter future.”
Up against Jean Bandou, from Mauritius, Lowe came out to the mat with confidence as he attempted to dominate the match. During the first period of the match Lowe performed three takedowns to give him six points, whilst his opponent successfully threw Lowe to the ground to get four points. Nauru’s first ever wrestler then managed to pin his opponent’s shoulders to the mat, taking the win and moving into the bronze medal match.
In the evening session Lowe went toe to toe with host nation England’s George Ramm in the bronze medal match. With the crowd at full volume the two wrestlers took to the mat. George Ramm had the momentum throughout the match and raced into an 11-0 lead.
Lowe had some brilliant performances throughout the day and should be proud of making it to the medal matches.
Jonathan-Deiwea Detageeouwa took to the field in the Shot Putt final.
Jonathan threw a first round distance of 15.12m, which was bettered in the second round when he threw 15.41m. The distance was his best of the night and a new personal best.
Team Niue had no athletes competing today, however tomorrow the team has arguably one of their biggest matches at a Commonwealth Games as Duken Holo Tutakitoa-Williams takes on Samoa’s Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali in the Heavyweight Over 86kg-92kg semi-final, for a place in the Gold medal match.
The boxer has already secured Niue’s first ever medal at a Commonwealth Games and the bout tomorrow is sure to be a thrilling encounter.
In their final match of the tournament Shea Wilson and Carmen Anderson took on Australian pair Kristina Krstic and Ellen Ryan in the Lawn Bowls Women’s Pairs quarter final.
Shea and Carmen got off to a great start by taking three points in the first end, before adding to that total in the third end to lead 5-2. Both teams were going toe to toe in an enthralling match and by end seven they were all square.
In the tight contest the Australian pair pulled ahead and despite a fightback from Carmen and Shea, the final result was 19-12 to the Aussies after 18 ends.
Incidentally, Shea is a school teacher and says her children have been watching her matches and hopefully they can inspire more to take up the sport.
Carmen Anderson won the Lawn Bowls World Championships on the same greens in Leamington Spa and she says the future of her sport looks bright for team Norfolk Island, “We are very happy to reach a quarter final, and the young ones we have in Norfolk Island have done really well at this tournament. We are improving all the time and it’s amazing for an island with only 50 members. We are finding more of a younger crowd is being attracted to the game back home and our teammate Ellie is only 17.”
Team Norfolk Island have again stepped forward on the Lawn Bowl rinks during these Championships and we can’t see what the bowlers will achieve next.
Decathlete Iga Karo had an impressive day one on the track and field as he finished the day with a total of 3838 points. The morning session at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium had three events for the PNG star.
The first was the 100m Hurdles, starting in lane two, Karo safely cleared all the barriers to cross in a season best time of 16.73. The Discus was next up and Karo’s best distance over three attempts was 31.88m, a new personal best.
From the Discus to the Pole Vault, Iga failed his first attempt at 3.90m, only to safely clear it on the next attempt, giving him a season’s best height.
After the morning PNG’s multi eventer sat on 5573 and was well positioned to set a new personal best total score across the entire event.
The 9th event of the Decathlon was the Javelin. Over his three attempts. Iga's first 51.30m was his best attempt, a new personal best distance for the athlete from PNG.
The final event of the 10-discipline competition was the 1500m. Nearly four laps of the track awaited the athletes who had already put their bodies through 9 gruelling events. Iga once again stepped up another level as he crossed the line in 4:56:54, a new season's best to give him a combined score of 6761, another PB.
Yesterday Toea Wisil finished her 200m heat in third place with a time of 24.42 seconds, just shy of her season’s beat. Finishing in the top three meant the sprinter automatically qualified for the semi-finals. As the sun set over Birmingham, Toea lined up in lane 9 and with a reaction time of 0.173 she burst round the bend and down the home straight to finish in a time of 24.43, just 0.01 slower than the time she set in the heats.
It was a busy day on the track for Papua New Guinea and Annie Topal was one of the thirteen jumpers in the Women’s Triple Jump final. Annie’s second round jump of 12.75, a new season’s best, was her furthest distance as she enjoyed competing in a major final.
From a hop, skip and a jump to the Long Jump pit, Rellie Kaputin had three attempts to register her best distance in the Women’s Long Jump qualification. After a failed first jump, Relliee successfully managed 5.87m in the second round and followed this up with a new season’s best of 5.95m to finish her group in 8th position. “It has been a long season, so coming here to get a season’s best means a lot to me. I’ve recently transitioned to a new coach, which always takes time to get used to. I would have liked to jump 6 metres but I’m happy with the distance.”
Back on track, Adrine Monagi represented PNG in the Women’s 100m Hurdles heat, to finish in a time of 13.84 seconds.
It wasn’t only Athletics that was on the schedule today for team Papua New Guinea, Amity Alarcos and Madako Suari were in quarter final action in the Men’s Squash Mixed Doubles. On court three the pair took on Mary Fung-A-Fat and Shomari Wiltshire from Guyana. In an interesting match Amity and Madako gave it their all, however fell to a 2-0 defeat.
The only member of team Samoa in action today was Taitaifono Tamati, who was in the Men’s Freestyle Wrestling 86kg 1/8 final.
His opponent was South African Edward Lessing, as both wrestlers took to the mat, there was an excitement amongst the crowd and both athletes gave it their all as they squared up. The South African was able to perform a throw on the Samoan meaning he racked up four points on the leaderboard.
Edward didn’t ease up on the pressure, performing a takedown, before successfully landing another throw manoeuvre to reach 10 points, ending the match.
Reflecting on his time at his first Commonwealth Games Taitaifono said, “it wasn’t the best, it is a very new experience for me and I have to work on a lot of things. We’ve been in a training camp for two months but I wasn’t sure if nerves got to me as this is my first ever international tournament as I normally just compete at home with a small crowd.”
Solomon Islands have no athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games today, however tomorrow Rosefelo Siosi will be taking to the track to take part in the gruelling Men’s 5000m final. We know Rosefelo will give it his all and make Solomon Islands proud.
The Wrestling mats were the home of team Tonga today and in the Women’s Freestyle 68kg quarter final Tiger Lily Cocker Lemalie faced Tithy Roy from Bangladesh.
It was a quick start by the Tongan athlete who grappled with her opponent to try and get points on the board, and she didn’t have to wait long. With some skill Tiger Lily performed a perfectly executed throw and was awarded four points for the effort.
Shortly after, the wrestler from Tonga performed a takedown to head into the break 6-0 up. If Tiger Lily could maintain her lead for another three minutes or extend it and reach 10 points she would be heading into the semi-final. Showing her class, Tiger Lily was able to pin her opponent once again to take her points total to 10-0 and wrap up the match.
After her impressive performance in the previous round Tiger Lily was high in confidence as she went into her semi-final against Blessing Oborududu of Nigeria. As the buzzer sounded on mat A the bout got underway, with both wrestlers shuffling around the mat trying to entice one another to make a move. It was the Nigerian who got the first points on the board with a takedown to take a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately for Tiger Lily her opponent was able to perform another four takedowns to race into a 10-0, meaning the match ended.
Heading into the bronze medal match it was all to play for against India’s Divya Kakran. The Indian athlete was the first to score in the match with a takedown, before she pinned Tiger Lily’s shoulder to the floor to win the match.
Throughout the day 18-year-old Tiger Lily showed off some brilliant Wrestling technique and we are sure she will come back stronger.
The second wrestler for team Tonga was Aaron Lehauli who took on Engand’s Mandhir Kooner in the Men’s 125kg division. It was a cagey opening 1st period as the players sussed out each other's tactics, and trading points between them to be level at the halfway point. In the second period it was England’s Mandhir who dominated and he took the win with a 13-1 victory.
After the bout Aaron reflected on his match and the role of his coach, “Mandhir was very tight and I've just got to keep working and keep pushing. My coach told me to keep my hands up and keep moving. I could definitely hear him.”
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.
It was described as the match of the tournament by the stadium announcer and they were correct, Vanuatu’s quarter final versus Cyprus was one to remember. The winners of the Women’s Beach Volleyball quarter-final had Australia’s Women laying in wait. Vanuatu’s Miller Pata and captain Sherysyn Toko had not dropped a set so far in this tournament and the team hoped to keep that up.
Cyprus won the toss and chose to serve first, the pair hit an ace to take the first point, Manoline Konstantinou and Zoi Konstantopoulou raced into a 5-2 lead. After several nail biting rallies between the teams, Cyprus maintained their three point advantage at 12-9, heading into a technical break. Cyprus were full of confidence but Miller and Shersyn knew the skill they possessed and continued to chip away at the lead.
After some incredible rallies where both teams covered the court, Cyprus were the first team to get the opportunity to seal the set at 20-17. Vanuatu saved three set points to level the match 20-20 and then the real contest began as the teams traded points and set points to get the advantage.
As Cyprus had their fifth set point, it took a superb strike by Miller to keep the team in the match. As set point seven approached for Cyprus the teams had played 50 points in the opening set, and two superb teams were bringing the best out of each other.
After defending eight set points, Vanuatu got their second, which was saved, before another opportunity was created and the team capitalised on it. After 11 set points between the two teams, Vanuatu showed why they are one of the favourites of the tournament and why you can never count them out as they won the first 29-27.
The crowd were enthralled, and they had every right to be. Going into the second set, the audience were hoping for more of the same and they were granted their wish. Vanuatu won the first point then Miller and Pata went into a 5-2 lead. The momentum swung once again and Cyprus then strung together several points to lead 9-7.
The teams continued to play some magical points as the game was tied at 14-14,
The first set point of the second set went to Cyprus, which some brilliant play from Miller and Sherysyn saved. Manoline and Zoi had two more set points before a lovely dink over the net by Vanuatu gave them their own set point. This again was saved and as both teams continued to take the set they had played 56 points in this set alone. Finally, Vanuatu got the edge at 29-28 and the team took their second set point to seal the match with a score of 30-28. It was the most remarkable game of Beach Volleyball in these Games and Vanuatu are into the semifinals to take on Australia.
We only have three days of competition left before the 22nd Commonwealth Games come to a close, but we still have loads of action coming up, tomorrow we have two mouth watering semi finals the first sees Niue take on Samoa in the ring, before Vanuatu’s Beach Volleyball team takes on Australia, we’ll also be bringing you highlights from Wrestling, Squash and Athletics.
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