The final day of Sol2023 Pacific Games archery at DC Park proved to be a riveting spectacle on Friday, as archers from various nations showcased their prowess in both men’s and women’s categories. A fervent crowd gathered in the eastern part of Honiara, adding to the electric atmosphere.
The opening bronze medal clash in the compound mixed team event featured a heated battle between Tonga and Samoa. Tonga emerged victorious, claiming bronze, while Samoa fell short, settling for fourth place.
In the compound mixed team clash for gold, New Caledonia met Tahiti. The intensity was palpable as New Caledonia secured the top spot with 145 points, leaving Tahiti in their wake with 140 points, earning them silver.
The compound women’s individual category was intense, particularly the battle for bronze between Solomon Islands and Tonga. Tonga showcased remarkable resilience and skill, ultimately securing the bronze after a hard-fought contest, achieving 121 points, whereas Solomon Islands scored 97.
“I’m incredibly excited to have won three bronze medals in archery, marking my first ever medal victories in this year’s Games,” Tonga’s Ana Fifita told the Pacific Games News Service. “I am overwhelmed with pride at the opportunity to represent my country. I extend my deep gratitude to my fellow archer teammates, supporters, and my family back home for their unwavering support throughout my participation in the Games here in Solomon Islands,” she added.
The highlight of the day unfolded in the men’s compound final, featuring New Caledonia’s archers Xavier Mangoen and Laurent Clerte. In a gripping showdown, Clerte emerged triumphant, claiming gold.
Reflecting on the Games as a whole, in which he scooped three gold and two silver medals, Clerte told the Pacific Games News Service: “I’m overjoyed and find it difficult to express my emotions after achieving these three gold medals. The main obstacle I encountered during the competition was the unpredictable wind affecting the trajectory of my arrows toward the targets. However, I wish to extend my gratitude to my coach for invaluable guidance, contributing to my success in securing three gold medals in the men’s compound, recurve, and individual tournaments”.
The Para archers took centre stage in the final match of the men’s compound category. Two Tahitian archers faced off, vying for the coveted gold medal in a display of skill and determination.
In the recurve mixed team event, Tahiti triumphed over Tonga with a six-point lead, securing a gold medal. Tonga earned a silver medal with a score of 0 against.
Moving on to the recurve women’s final, two Australian archers faced off, with Laura Paeglis clinching gold with 6 points against her teammate Sarah Haywood, who scored 2 points and secured a silver medal.
In the recurve men’s final, another intense match unfolded between two Australian teammates. Ryan Tyack emerged victorious with a score of 7 points ahead of his opponent’s 1 point, securing the coveted gold medal.
Reflecting on her victory Paeglis said: “Winning the gold medal today means so much to me and my country. It’s an amazing experience”.
Tyack said: “Securing the gold medal is a significant achievement for me. Standing on top of the podium is a surreal experience, and this victory will be a memorable one for me.”
As the sun set on the final day of archery at DC Park, the athletes have left an indelible mark with their remarkable performances, creating memories that will resonate in the annals of Pacific Games archery history.
By Tali Dever, Arnold Peter, and Joyce Koiari, Pacific Games News Service