The excitement and anticipation are mounting ahead of the SOL2023 Pacific Games’ as tennis, volleyball and basketball tournaments begin today in Honiara.
The tennis event will be held at the newly inaugurated National Tennis Centre.
The tennis event opens with four days dedicated to the teams’ competition, followed by singles and doubles from Wednesday 22 November to Thursday 30 November.
Northern Mariana Islands won gold in the men’s team competition at the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games, asserting their dominance on the court ahead of silver medallists Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Tahiti (bronze). This year, the contest will be equally fierce.
Papua New Guinea emerged victorious in the women’s team event, while silver and bronze were won by Samoa and American Samoa respectively, setting the stage for an exciting confrontation between these teams as they look to re-assert themselves in Honiara.
The women’s singles gold medallist last time out was PNG’s Abigail Tere-Apisah. One of those in line to snatch the title at Sol2023 is none other than her niece, Violet Apisah, who claimed silver at Samoa 2019.
The stage is set, the teams are geared up, and the energy will be palpable as the action begins in the men’s volleyball competition today, starting with Samoa 2019 Pacific Games bronze medallists New Caledonia facing Samoa in the opening match at 5pm.
The excitement doesn’t end there on the opening day, as host nation Solomon Islands will take centre stage against Kiribati in the second match at 7pm. The home crowd is sure to be in full force, rallying behind their team as they aim to make a strong statement on home turf. Kiribati, known for their tenacity, won’t back down easily, promising a thrilling encounter that is bound to keep spectators on the edge of their seats.
Tahiti claimed gold in the men’s competition at the last edition of the Pacific Games, setting the bar high for all contenders. The other men’s medallists from Samoa 2019 were Wallis and Futuna (silver) and New Caledonia (bronze).
In the women’s competition at Samoa 2019, New Caledonia won gold, Tahiti claimed silver and hosts Samoa snatched bronze. The women’s tournament at Sol2023 begins on Saturday 18 November with American Samoa taking on Tahiti at 12pm. This will be followed by PNG v Solomon Islands at 2pm and Samoa v Tuvalu at 5pm.
Both the men’s and women’s tournaments will continue until Saturday 25 November.
Meanwhile, the action-packed two-week SOL2023 Pacific Games basketball showdown will unfold today at the iconic Friendship Hall.
In the men’s competition, defending champions Guam, who clinched victory in the previous Pacific Games held in Samoa in 2019, face the daunting task of maintaining their supremacy in what promises to be another challenging tournament. Fellow Samoa 2019 medallists Tahiti (silver) and Fiji (bronze) will also be vying for honours.
Day one is set to witness intense matchups, with the spotlight on Pool A featuring the clash between Guam and PNG at 12pm and a riveting showdown between Solomon Islands and Samoa at 6pm.
In the women’s tournament, a new champion will be crowned due to the absence of Samoa 2019 gold medallists American Samoa. The other medallists at the previous Games were Fiji (silver) and Samoa (bronze).
The women’s action will begin at 10am when Tonga takes on Cook Islands in Pool B, while at 2pm Fiji will face off against Guam in Pool A, adding an extra layer of excitement to the opening day. Other women’s matches on day 1 are PNG v Tahiti at 4pm and Samoa v Solomon Islands at 8pm.
The 5×5 basketball events will showcase the skills and determination of nine countries – Fiji, Guam, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Tonga across both men’s and women’s competitions, plus New Caledonia in the men’s tournament and Cook Islands in the women’s.
The 5×5 basketball tournaments will be followed by the men’s and women’s 3×3 basketball events, commencing on Wednesday 29 November.