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Top Finish For Karate

Top Finish For Karate
women’s karate team after their gold medal victories on Tuesday. Photo: Anasilini Ratuva
July 16
07:53 2015

Team Fiji wrapped up its 2015 Pacific Games karate campaign exactly as it had been hoping. And that is taking gold in both the women’s and men’s team kumite events on Tuesday at BSP Arena.

“We’ve been trying for over, I think, three Pacific Games to take the team event,” Naomi Bakani said. “We’re really happy that we took the team gold that was the most important one for us.”

The pair of victories allowed Fiji a late surge in the overall medal count for karate, placing it in a tie with New Caledonia atop the list with seven gold medals apiece.

Bakani and Adi Drodrolagi Kidia set up the dramatic ending for Fiji with their victory in the women’s team kumite, only for the Fijian men to up the emotion by defeating New Caledonia in their final yesterday. With a back-and-forth men’s final coming down to the deciding fifth bout, Pacific Games rookie Alexander Darroch (FIJ) gritted out a 1-0 victory against Kenny Guillem (NCL) to seal the victory.

“Alex is the newest member, the number five fighter, and we’re calling him ‘Alexander the Great,’ because he brought the team home,” Fiji coach Anthony Hails said.

“That fighter that he fought against (Guillem) has done a lot of work, and Alex has only been out twice. So as a relative novice, he brought the team home.”

Darroch faced extra pressure in his match as New Caledonia held the tiebreaker, having scored more combined points in the other matchups.

“I was really over-pressured, because if New Caledonia scored, that would be their win,” Darroch said. “I just kept my composure, I just thought of everything, and I did the job.”

Section manager Laverne Qiolevu was impressed with the results.

“We have achieved what we wanted and all sacrifices and dedication from all these athletes have finally paid off.

“We must congratulate all our athletes for all their achievement whether it’s gold, silver or bronze , each medal is a bonus for us,” Qiolevu said.

“ We went through a lot of challenges especially our training venues and finances but we managed to go through it all and brought all our athletes in PNG,” she added.



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