VANUATU finally struck gold with its highly talented women’s table tennis team defeating New Caledonia 3-0 in the women’s team competition.
A lively crowd was kept on the edge of their seats at Korman Stadium’s indoor hall as they willed the Vanuatu players through the final, resulting in joyful scenes as the team claimed gold.
Team member Liopa Santhy said she was delighted to win gold on home turf for the first time.
“I was nervous, but I had family members and supporters who gave us strong support to get through to the final,” she said.
Veteran table tennis representative Anolyn Lulu, returning to elite competition after taking two years off to have a baby, said she was emotional and proud of the team’s performance in front of their home fans.
Intensive training with a Chinese coach evidently paid dividends as the team scarcely missed a beat on their way to gold. The score sheet showed an impressive line of zeros for the opposing teams against the Vanuatu women.
Sports experts in Port Vila believe more medals will come from the host nation’s table tennis team.
Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, said: “I’m extremely proud of our table tennis girls. A gold medal was expected but when it happens, it’s a wonderful moment.”
New Caledonia picked up silver as a result of the loss to Vanuatu, while Fiji beat Papua New Guinea 3-0 in the bronze medal match.