Male tennis players on a podium

History for Fiji and Tuvalu in men’s doubles tennis

008A5849 | July 7, 2024
Fiji’s William O’Connell and Charles Cornish won their country’s first tennis gold medal. Photos: Rhianto Manuga, Pacific Games News Service

Fiji and Tuvalu made history when both teams in the men’s tennis double event clashed for the top spot during Thursday night’s medal matches at Honiara’s National Tennis Centre.

The pair from Fiji, William O’Connell and a young Charles Cornish, made history as the first tennis players from Fiji to win a gold medal at the Pacific Games.

Fiji had never reached a Pacific Games gold medal match in men’s doubles, but the spell was broken on Thursday as they qualified for the finals and outclassed their opponent Tuvalu.

Fiji overpowered the Tuvalu pair of Faolina Tepa Haleti and Maka Foster Ofati in straight sets (7-5, 6-2).

Speaking to the Pacific Games News Service, the Fijian players’ eyes were brimming with tears of joy, saying they were lost for words to describe their victory.

“It’s just an incredible feeling to win Fiji’s first ever gold medal in tennis. We can’t find words to express what this moment means to us.”

A super proud O’Connell, who is the older player, added: “To win the game with Charles, who is the future of tennis for Fiji, will be an added spice motivating him to get many more wins”.

Tuvalu also made history for their tennis federation by being the team to push furthest in a Pacific Games tennis campaign, making it into the final of the doubles event.

The silver medallists stressed that their aim now is to claim gold at the next Pacific Games in Tahiti in 2027.

The Tuvalu tennis players could also hardly hold back their tears, reflecting on their journey from the small courts back in Funafuti, with support from their parents, fighting their way up in the tournament, beating household names in tennis in the region, landing them in the silver position.

Guam settled for bronze in the men’s doubles, beating New Caledonia.

By Donaldson Saepioh, Pacific Games News Service

Similar Posts