2019 Pacific Games

Tonga taekwondo gold medallist thanks Rio 2016 flag bearer Taufatofua

Takelo won 87 kilograms gold on the opening day of action at the Harvest Centre in Apia after defeating Josefa Otterberch of Fiji and then Fred Gwali of the Solomon Islands.

Tonga ended up the second-most successful country in taekwondo at Samoa 2019 with two gold and three bronze medals.

Taufatofua represented Tonga at Rio 2016, where he was also flag bearer, and he then made the shift to winter sports when he featured in cross-country skiing at Pyeongchang 2018.

Cook Islands narrowly take netball gold from Tonga

In a pressured game at the Multisport Complex, Faleata, the Cook Islands scored in the final seconds to take the final score to 44-43.

Cook Island coach Ariana Andrews-Tasola spoke tearfully after her team's victory. “It was a beautiful game of netball, played by two extremely talented Pacific teams.

"We have so much natural talent in the Pacific”.

Tonga wins first tennis gold at Samoa 2019 Pacific Games

The Tongan fans at Apia Park tennis courts was so vocal in their support that the referee had to remind them to quieten until after points were finished.

They erupted as the Tonga brothers Semisi and Matavano Fanguna won the final point, beating Northern Mariana Islands 6-4, 6-4.

Semisi Fanguna was completely overcome, leaving his beaming brother to comment.

“I’m so happy. Now I can breathe! All our hard work paid off.”

Boxing a learning experience for Pacific Games athletes

The four-day event has been staged at Don Bosco Hall, Salelologa, with finals happening on Friday.

For 19-year-old Solomon Islands’ Pemberton Lele, his progress to the finals has been about building skills. He is the only member from his team to make it to the finals, following a toe-to-toe fight against Elia Rokobuli from Fiji in the 60kg lightweight event.

“I have learnt to fight strong and new skills from other boxers I have fought and seen in the last few days,” he said ahead of his final.

Pacific’s fastest man reigns in thrilling 200m final

In a thrilling contest at Apia Park Stadium, Tabakaucoro was victorious in 20.87 seconds, inches ahead of Dodson who finished in 20.91 seconds. Papua New Guinea’s Theo Piniau snatched bronze in 21.70 seconds.

Both Tabakaucoro and Dodson fell after crossing the finish line, sending the medics out onto the field.

The Fijian admitted he was feeling very sore after the competition. “I expected to finish strong but not to fall over like that, but it just shows the level of competition here,” Tabakaucoro told the Pacific Games News Service.

Cook Islands to face Tonga for netball gold

Cook Islands booked a place in the final by defeating Papua New Guinea 58-31 at the Multisport Centre, Faleata, urged on by their boisterous fans.

“This is great for Cook Island netball. Last time we were in a gold medal match was 1991. We have a huge support base, both here and at home,” said coach Suzanne Evans.

Both teams entered the game undefeated from pool matches. Cook Islands took the lead and kept PNG goaled for the first four minutes.

Pacific Games to crown fastest man

New Caledonia continue to lead the medals table from host nation Samoa, while a strong showing on the track lifted Papua New Guinea into fifth overall.

Papua New Guinea won six medals on the first day of athletics, including gold in the men's 3000m steeplechase and the women's 5000m.

That was enough to lift the reigning Pacific Games champions above Australia into fifth place overall with 13 gold, 22 silver and 13 bronze medals.

New Caledonia's shooters were on target in the team 25m short pistol to bring their total haul to 43 gold and 94 medals in all.

Tonga win in tennis, volleyball and archery at Pacific Games


Tonga defeated Vanuatu in the first round of the women’s tennis team competition.

Tonga won the bronze media in the beach volleyball and the mixed team recurve archery event.

Semisi Funaki and Tio Fonohema defeated American Samoa’s Sigalu Aitui and Tauvela Fagaima in a marathon match, winning 24-22, 19-21, 19-17.

Elsewhere some of Tonga’ youngest competitors have been taking their first steps on the international stage.

Tonga's badminton revolution bearing fruit at Samoa 2019

Their squad of eight, one of whom celebrated her fifteenth birthday as she played her final match on Friday, represent a new generation of athletes in a sport that was unknown in the Pacific kingdom a decade ago.

But, gradually, badminton is taking hold in Tonga, thanks to Badminton World Federation’s Shuttle Time development program, introduced to Tonga in 2013, and funded by the Australian government through the Pacific Sports Partnerships since 2015.

Incredible night at swimming as records tumble

The crowd exploded in cheers as Samoa's medal-winning Lauren Sale readied herself on the block for the women’s 200m individual medley, the first race of the evening.

Matelita Buadromo of Fiji had a strong showing during the preliminary rounds and New Caledonia’s May Toven looked to podium as well. The buzzer sounded and the women were off.