Pacific Games Report

This was the first time New Zealand has been invited to these games. We went in a limited capacity with soccer, weightlifting and Taekwondo as the only sports represented by New Zealand. Our national New Zealand Taekwondo team consisted of:

Male

  • Sean Wells                    Under 54kg  Bay of Plenty       
  • Vaughn Scott                Under 80kg   Auckland
  • Daffyd Sanders            Under 87kg   Auckland
  • Nic Dorman                   Over 87kg    Christchurch

Female

  • Andrea Kilday               Under 46kg   Auckland
  • Rhiannon O’Neill            Under 62kg   Bay of Plenty
  • Zhanna Sattsaeva          Under 67kg  Gold Coast

Coaches

Kesi O’Neill, Male Team
Gina Guo, Female Team

Team Manager
Tim Urquhart


We flew into Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on July 12th, temperature not as bad as expected but still in the high 20s so was good to have the week to adjust. We stayed at the athlete’s village in the Port Moresby University; the accommodation was comfortable with 2 people to a room. No air conditioning, but we made full use of the fans in the rooms. We were met by chef de mission from NZ Olympic Committee, Natalie Tong and NZ team doctor Mark Taylor and shown around facilities.

The week leading into competition consisted of traveling to the training venue, focussing on competition and meeting respective weight classes. The food at the village was very good. We soon learnt to avoid the cues which could sometimes stretch for 50 meters! The team had one outing before the competition which was a quick trip to the athletics stadium to watch the athletics sprint finals. The passion and pride in the PNG crowd was amazing, especially when the PNG golden girl Toea Wisil won the 100 metre finals.

The Taekwondo competition started with the females. Andrea Kilday had a close battle with Rosmary Tona from PNG to advance to the finals where she won gold against Deanna Kyriazopoulos of Australia in a golden point round, winning by 7 points to 4. This was a tough division with little separating the 3 women and promises an interesting Oceania’s Olympic Qualifier next year. Rhiannon had a great first up match against Stephanie Kombo of PNG, winning comfortably before succumbing to former world number one Carmen Martin of Australia to take silver. Zhanna Sattsaeva came up against rising star Noelyn Hetana of PNG in a straight final. Hetana had earlier beaten the Solomon Island contender and was full of confidence for the final. Zhanna’s result gave her the silver medal.

The males were up the next day which started with Sean Wells in the under 54kg. The day started well with a close win over Prasad from Fiji before falling to a dominant Bobby Willie of PNG in the semi-finals. Willie went on to win gold with Sean taking a bronze medal. Vaughn Scott had a strong first round win against Teavu Mu from Tahiti before coming up against Hayder Shkara of Australia. There was nothing between these two and they finished round 3 tied for points. In golden point Shkara was able to gain the first point resulting in a gold for one of the most exciting matches of the tournament, a rematch at the 2016 Oceania’s is on the cards. Vaughn took a silver medal for his efforts. Daffyd Sanders came up against Waldek Defaix of Tahiti who was probably the surprise package in the men’s division. Not through lack of effort Daffyd was unable to catch a quick scoring Defaix and took a bronze medal. Defaix went on to beat the top Australian Daniel Strafstrom to take the gold medal. Last up was Nic Dorman in the heavyweight division. Nics first fight against Karel Orthosie of New Caledonia was one of the best of the tournament. Spinning hooks, jumping spinning hooks and even a scorpion kick were landed by Nic and a great win was recorded. In the final he came up against current Oceania Champion Lioyd Hery of Tahiti, battling against a significant height and reach disadvantage, Nic competed well until the end but having to settle for a silver medal.

The closing ceremony at the Sir John Guise Athletics Stadium was a great event with plenty of music, speeches and fireworks, as well as the official passing over of the next Pacific Games to be held in Tonga in 2019. The New Zealand Taekwondo team did us proud winning medals and the only gold for the entire New Zealand contingent.

-Report by Tim Urquhart