Rewind: 2019 Pacific Games
July 21, 2020
The 16th edition of the Pacific Games staged in Apia, Samoa on the 7th-20th July saw 24 countries participating in the Games with 7 nations playing in the table tennis event. Vanuatu dominated the table tennis events, winning 5 gold medals and 6 in total with New Caledonia and Tahiti coming second, both winning 2 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze.
In the Men’s Teams, the 2015 Pacific Games champions Tahiti defended their title, defeating New Caledonia 3-1 in the finals. The team comprised of 2019 Pacific Games winner Ocean Belrose, Kenji Hotan, Yvan Perromat and Matahi Tarano breezed through the group stage, not dropping a single game against Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Soloman Islands. In the semi-final, they encountered Fiji who they defeated 3-0 before meeting New Caledonia in the finals to take the gold. It was an impressive display of team work for the team, who only dropped one game throughout the teams event.
In the bronze medal match, Fiji defeated Vanuatu 3-1 to claim the medal.
Coming into the competition seeded third, Vanuatu surprised all to take the gold medal in the women’s teams. Having won bronze at the 2015 Pacific Games, Vanuatu had big dreams for the Games in Samoa. Vanuatu’s team comprising of Anolyn Lulu, Priscila Tommy, Tracey Lorette Mawa and Stephanie Qweq dominated the event defeating Fiji in the finals 3-1 to win the games. It was a smooth ride for them in the group stage where they defeated 2015 champions Tahiti 5-0 and only dropped one game against Papua New Guinea. In the semi-finals, Vanuatu’s dream team accounted for first seeds New Caledonia 3-0 to reach the finals.
The bronze medal match saw a intense stand off between Tahiti and New Caledonia where ultimately New Caledonia fought off Tahiti in an exhilarating game, winning 3-2.
In the Men’s singles, Vanuatu’s Yoshua Shing defeated Tahiti’s Kenji Hotan 4-1 to claim the top honour. Having won silver medal at the 2015 Games, Shing came to Samoa with big goals. Despite Hotan’s best efforts Shing was ultimately to fend him off and win 4-1 (10, 8, 4, -10, 9). It was a dominant display from Shing who had breezed through his earlier matches in the event.
In the Women’s singles, Vanuatu’s Priscilla Tommy defeated Fiji’s Sally Yee 4-0 (8, 2, 6, 6) to claim the title. It was a strong performance from Tommy, who had survived a seven-game semifinal scare from New Caledonia’s Solenn Danger earlier in the day.
In the bronze medal match, Danger defeated Vanuatu’s Anolyn Lulu in a closely fought match everyone on their edge of the seats. Danger was able to hold of her more experienced opponent, ultimately winning the in the seventh set (6, 7, -5, 5, -8, -6, 6).
In the Men’s Doubles, Vanuatu pair Yoshua Shing and Ham Frexly Lulu pulled off a 3-1 win over Papua New Guinea’s Geoffrey Loi and Gasika Sepa Simoi in the finals. The pair worked together to overcome New Caledonia’s Laurent Sens and Ronan Aubuery in a tight seven setter in the semi-final earlier in the day to reach the finals and add another gold medal to Vanuatu’s medal tally.
Vanutu’s Priscila Tommy and Anolyn Lulu teamed up to defeat top seeds Fiji’s Yee sister Sally and Grace 3-0 (3, 9, 9) to claim the Women’s doubles title. The pair breezed through their earlier matches in the event to add the fifth gold medal to Vanuatu’s tally.
New Caledonia’s pair Ronan Aubry and Lorie La caused major upsets in the mixed doubles defeating the number 1 seed, Vanuatu’s Yoshua Shing and Anolyn Lulu. With each set packed to the brim with action, the New Caledonia’s young duo fended off the attacks from their opponents to claim the title 3-1.