Fiji rejoiced when they won Gold on the final day of the Mixed Team event. The third seeds won on count-back, bringing an end to their 16-year wait to win the Gold at the Pacific Games Mixed Team Event.
The second seeds, New Caledonia, finished with a silver medal while first seeds Tahiti found themselves at the lower end of the count-back to take home bronze.
“I’m very proud of the whole team…We’ve had a fair few things going against us which didn’t point towards a Gold medal but just the way we bonded together as a team played a strong part”, says Team coach, Brent Munday.
However, as team member Danielle Whiteside points out, their job is not complete.
“It’s not over yet, we still need to keep the momentum and fighting spirit alive and push through to the next round sin the Individual event”, says Danielle Whiteside.
Badminton last took place at the Pacific Games in the 2011 New Caledonia edition, where the home team swept the board with five out of six potential Gold medals. The only Gold medal missing was in the Women’s Singles after Fiji’s Andra Whiteside defeated New Caledonia’s Johanna Kou.
Andra was a pivotal part of Team Fiji on route to the top of the podium this year and has previously taken the Women’s Doubles silver medal in 2007 and 2011 alongside Danielle.
However, this year she will be teaming up with her sister, Karyn Gibson Whiteside. Badminton runs in the family for the trio, but since 2011 Andra and Danielle have found new partners in search of this year’s individual Gold medal.
“Karyn and I have played for a while now, including at the Gold Coast 2017 Commonwealth Games and Oceania Championships where we figured our partnership worked well. Similarly, Danielle and Alyssa have found a strong partenrship together”, says Andra.
During the Mixed Team event, Karyn and Andra won all of their Women’s Doubles matches together, including the crucial tie against New Caledonia’s Johanna Kou and Dgenyvia Matauli (who are also the first seeds in the individual event).
Similarly, they were the only pair to disrupt Kiribati’s Tooma Teuaika and Tinabora Tekeiaki impressive run after winning in three games.
“We are happy with our performances so far and are adapting to the conditions. We now have another challenge to focus on and we know it will be hard in every game”
“The girls from Kiribati bring a great enthusiasm and a free-spirit to the court which has aided their success. We will definitely be keeping our eye on them”, says Andra.
The individual event began today, with the Fijian sister duo competing against Tonga’s Mele Lingisiva Kei and Lesieli Vaeno in the first round. A win will take them through to the Quarter-Finals and a potential route to meet the duo from Kiribati in the Semi-Finals.
Follow the draw and results of the Individual competition on Tournament Software.