Women playing hockey

Fiji through to both hockey finals, Solomon Islands reach women’s

IMG 1970 | February 24, 2024
Fiji beat PNG to qualify for the women’s gold medal match. Photos: Peter Kofana, Pacific Games News Service

Fiji have again stamped their supremacy as the region’s number one hockey nation after qualifying for both the men’s and women’s finals at the Sol2023 Pacific Games.

On Thursday, Fiji’s men’s hockey team booked their place in Friday’s gold medal match after narrowly defeating Vanuatu 1-0 on penalties after normal time had both teams locked at 1-1.

Speaking to the Pacific Games News Service, Fiji Coach Smith Hector said that their aim is to write their names into history as the best in the Pacific.

“Our dream is to defend our Pacific Games hockey titles. We are moving towards that, defeating a very strong Vanuatu side today. We are confident we can achieve this dream and be known as the hockey legends of the Pacific Games.”

In their way of achieving that is PNG, who also booked their place in Friday’s finals after a nail-biting semi-final victory over hosts Solomon Islands.

PNG also had to rely on a nerve racking 2-0 penalty shootout to progress, after the scores were locked at 2-2 on full time.

The women’s semis however had a much different tone to them, with both Fiji and Solomon Islands booking their places after comfortable wins over PNG and Tonga respectively.

Fiji convincingly beat PNG (3-0) and Solomon Islands beat Tonga by the same margin.

The gold medal match will be the team’s second meeting of this Games – the first resulted in a scoreless draw in the pool matches.

Solomon Islands woman’s coach, Esmie Belo said: “Today our girls created history in securing a grand final clash with champions Fiji. We are confident that we can continue to create history. Our scoreless draw in the pools and the convincing victory over Tonga will indeed motivate us to give it our all at tomorrow’s (Friday’s) final.”

She added: “Winning in front of the home crowd will indeed be special. Today is a big celebration. Tomorrow will be another celebration as we have achieved what many didn’t think possible”.

Friday’s women’s hockey finals start at 12:20pm, whilst the men’s kick off 1:10pm at the National Hockey Stadium at KGVI. Entry is free.

By Jeffson Aghi, Pacific Games News Service

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