• Jamal Vira (VASANOC)

Building Momentum in the New Millennium

The 2007 Pacific Games were hosted by Samoa - a fact Vanuatu took full advantage of by sending a larger team than ever before.

A total of 45 events were contested, 23 by men and 22 by women for Team Vanuatu and six new records were set - one by the men and five by the women.

Vanuatu won two gold, one silver and nine bronze medals.

In keeping with recent history, the Table Tennis team returned home with the most impressive medal haul with the women shining in their performances at the table.

They won the Team gold medal with solid performances by Anolyn LuluPriscilla Tommy, Pareina Matariki and Kerry Ann Mok and there was more gold for Priscilla Tommy in the Women’s Singles.

Silver went to Anolyn Lulu [pictured] and Tommy in the Women’s Doubles with Yiao Shing and Lulu securing bronze in the Mixed Doubles.

It was at this time that the success of the Vanuatu Beach Volleyball team began to emerge with Elwin Miller and Iatika Henriette winning bronze in the Women’s Division.

Boxing added two bronze medals to the tally courtesy of Gill Kalai (51kg Division) and Mathias Sapa (60kg).

The Vanuatu National Football team won the bronze medal in their competition with New Caledonia and Fiji continuing their domination of regional contests, winning the gold and silver respectively.

In Athletics there were four bronze medals. 

Arnold Sorina won a matching pair in the middle distance events with bronze in the 800m (1:55.40s) and the 1500m (4:03.20s), and Sam Lavi took bronze in the 10000m (35:05.47s).

It was a Melanesian clean-sweep in the Mens 4x400m Relay.  First and second were Fiji and PNG, with the bronze to the Vanuatu quartet of Arnold Sorina, Moses Kamut, Jimmy Kassiley and Sam Kaiapam (3:16.43s).

The next Pacific Mini Games was hosted for the second time by Cook Islands, on the island of Rarotonga.

At these 2009 Games, Team Vanuatu won five gold, four silver and three bronze medals.

Table Tennis again stamped itself as the strongest sport in Vanuatu and dominated the competition winning five gold medals, one silver and three bronze.

The Women’s Singles resulted in Vanuatu’s first clean medal sweep in any sport. The gold to Priscilla Tommy, silver to Anolyn Lulu and Liopa Santhy taking bronze.

The Men's Singles gold medal went to Yoshua Shing, who teamed with Anolyn Lulu’s brother Ham Frexly Lulu to win the Men’s Doubles.

This success was replicated in the Women’s Doubles as Lulu and Liopa Santhy also finished first with the pairing of Priscilla Tommy and Stephanie Qwen winning the bronze medal in that event.

The fifth gold medal to the all-conquering team was in the Women’s Team event with impressive wins to Anolyn Lulu, Liopa Santhy and Priscilla Tommy.

After the successful campaign, Anolyn Lulu paid tribute to the President of the Vanuatu Table Tennis Association.

"We are forever thankful to Mr Mok Tsi Wei - he was the one who introduced Table Tennis to Vanuatu and we have won all our gold medals for him. Without his support we would surely not be where we are today", she said.

The Men’s Tennis Team won their first Pacific Games medal with silver for Andrew MailtorokCyril JacobeCyrille Mainguy & Jerome Rovo going down in the finals to New Caledonia.

Again Athletics relied on middle distance runner, Arnold Sorina for their only medals – two silver in the 800m (1:56.39s) and the 1500m (4:15.11s).

For reasons not fully understood, PNG decided not to send an Athletics Team to the Cook Islands Games, leaving the door open to others in the chase for medals. 

Team Fiji won 15 gold medals on the track, but the field events, which emerged as the real highlight of the Athletics competition, had the medals more evenly spread.

With the five Games of the 2000’s over, a stronger and much improved Team Vanuatu started preparations for the Games to come - in Nouméa, Wallis & Futuna and Port Moresby.

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