Female golfers on a podium

Tongan teenager wins shock women’s golf gold

IMG 0318 | June 15, 2024
New Caledonia (gold), PNG (silver) and Samoa (bronze) earned identical podium positions across the women’s and men’s team events. Photos: Anthony Manepasua, Pacific Games News Service

New Caledonia clinched three gold medals as the Sol2023 Pacific Games golf events concluded at Honiara Golf Course on Saturday.

But the story of the day came in the women’s singles event, where 16-year-old Tongan sensation Alexis Vakasiuola, in her debut appearance at the Pacific Games, overcame stiff competition from New Caledonia and Tahiti to claim gold.

The joyful Arizona High School student, who began playing golf at the age of six and displayed remarkable determination over the four days of competition, dedicated her victory to the people of Tonga. 

 “I feel great winning gold for my country in my first Pacific Games,” she told the Pacific Games News Service. “I just want to thank the people of Tonga for all their support. I miss them so much, and I love them.”

New Caledonia’s Priscilla Gracia Lormand settled for silver, while Kirra St Laurent of Tahiti won bronze.

Guillaume Castagne of New Caledonia secured gold in the men’s singles after leading throughout the four-day event.

Papua New Guinea’s Morgan Joseph Annato won silver, while New Caledonia’s Hugo Denis claimed bronze.

New Caledonia also won gold in both the women’s and men’s team events. PNG claimed silver in both, and Samoa collected bronze in both.

New Caledonia’s coach Emily Piquot emphasised the strength of the competition. “Our players had to work hard for their win; nothing came easy. They had to bring their A-game to secure gold.”

By Francis Pituvaka, Pacific Games News Service

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