Edition No. 35. Winter, 2003. Today is
 

South Pacific Games - Day 2
Suva, Fiji: July 11, 2003

By: Simon Hicks
After the dominance that they showed yesterday in the heavyweights host nation Fiji were very disappointing in the second day of the South Pacific Games in Suva. Instead it has been the French overseas territory of New Caledonia that has turned in a stunning performance with a clean sweep of all six titles! The three lightest weights in both the men's and women's categories were decided today with the Open and team events being left to the last day.

In all six events today only one Fijian made it into the final, Alumita Kurovoli in the women's -57 kg. She did this by pinning Marie Keneke of Papua New Guinea for ippon with Kesa gatame. Her opponent in the final was Rosa Delots of New Caledonia who had beaten Elina Nasaudrodro of Fiji in an epic contest in which both women had fought each other to a standstill. In a truly agressive match that had the crowd roaring their appreciation Nasaudrodro went ahead with two yuko scores from Morote gari and Sasae tsuri komi ashi before Delots pulled back a koka with Ouchi gari. Finally, with only 20 seconds left on the clock, when it looked as though both fighters had given their all, Delots produced an unexpected leg grab Ko soto gari that smashed Nasaudrodro onto her back for an impressive ippon.

In the final Delots completely overwhelmed Kuruvoli, forcing the Fijian into errors that earned her three penalties, and then countering her Uchi mata and pinning her with Tatei shiho gatame to take the gold medal.

In the -52 kg Audrey Thomas from New Caledonia comprehensively beat her two Fijian opponents to win the category. First to fall was Laisa Keqewai, picked up with Kataguruma and smashed for ippon in 5 seconds. Veniana Tuibulia lasted considerably longer but Thomas threw her with two Tomoe nage's, the frst for yuko and the second for the ippon that clinched the title. And it was the same story in the -48 kg where New Caledonian Helene Dulac dispatched the two Fijians in her category in identical fashion,taking Inise Rasekaseka and Mereani Naioba to the ground and pinning them both with Kesa gatame, switching to Mune gatame for ippon, to take the gold. Dulac then celebrated her victory with an energetic piece of dancing after her medal ceremony that had both the crowd and her team mates rocking with delight!

The men's -60 kg produced some fast exciting judo in particular from the eventual victor, Cyril Chevalier of New Caledonia, who has a dynamic dropping right handed Morote seoinage. His ippon with this technique on Fiji's Raibevu Tevita in the quarter final was truly poetic. A juji gatame ippon victory over Numa Keneke of Papua New Guinea put him into the final, whilst Keneke went on to take the bronze with an excellent Tai otoshi ippon against his team mate Christophe Currie. Chevalier's final opponent was the Tahitian Cedric Delanne who had produced two big ippon throws to put him in the gold medal match, but he was beautifully thrown with Chevalier's dropping seoinage. The second bronze medal went to Toshio Suzuki of Samoa who pinned Fiji's Robert Ah Chang with Kami shiho gatame to earn his third place.

The best performance of the day came in the men's -66 kg from New Caledonia's Paul Dulac who won all four of his fights with indisputable ippons. He is a classy right handed fighter with a fine Uchi mata and solid newaza both of which were on display in his first fight against Raymond Ovinou from Papua New Guinea who he threw and pinned for two waza-ari's. Helmut Faka'osi from Tonga only lasted seconds in the quarter final, immediately thrown for ippon by Dulac. This brought him up against the skillful Fijian Atunaisa Delai in the semi-final. Delai has great ashi waza, but he was no match for Dulac who threw him for ippon with a right handed Ken Ken Uchi mata. Delai went on to take the bronze medal with a wonderfully timed Okuri ashi barai that levelled Lawrence Ramos of Papua New Guinea in less than ten seconds.

Dulac's opponent in the gold medal match was the Tahitian Tehiva Guion, another right hander with some fine tachi waza. He had reached the final by throwing Ramos for ippon with drop seoinage and Fiji's Pelacuo Rageci with Ko soto gari for another maximum score. Rageci subsequently took the bronze with a jime waza victory, pulled out of the bag when he was waza-ari down against Tahiti's Jean Marie Cicala.

The final did not last long. In only the second exchange of the contest Dulac bent over Guion, threw his right arm over the Tahitians shoulder and grasped the belt, launching a massive Utsuri goshi. As Guion desperately sunk his hips Dulac converted the throw to Uchi mata and launched the Tahitian onto his back for ippon to clinch the title.

At -73 kg the most impressive fighter in the early rounds was the veteran Tahitian Frederic Garcia. An elegant fighter with an upright stance, he wasted no time throwing both Donald Karo of Papua New Guinea and Ahotau Funaki of Tonga with skillful left Uchi mata's. This took him into the semi final against the dogged New Caledonian de Habreu Trindade whose wrestling style had been equally as effective as Garcia's stylish Judo. His close cropped bleach blonde hair contrasting with his dark complexion had drawn attention to his effective ne waza as he had strangled Frank Stowers of Samoa and pinned Fiji's Salios Livitalo. The semi final between Garcia and Trindade was a classic batle that would have been worthy of the final, between thrower and grappler, the New Caledonian preventing the Tahitian from ever catching his left sleeve and trying to force him into errors. And it was Trindade whose tactics triumphed and he emerged the winner, dragging Garcia to the ground and escaping from between his legs to pin him with Yoko shiho gatame for ippon. Garcia went on to take the bronze in brilliant style, throwing Akapei Lattu of Tonga for ippon with a superbly controlled spinning Tomoe nage.

The fighter to emerge from the other half of the draw was the other New Caledonian, Jonathan Berger, a confident,almost arrogant, fighter with good newaza and flashy throws. En route to the final he pinned Ray Wasi from the Solomon Islands, threw Tahiti's Julien Kinde with Kouchi makikomi and held down Waterhouse of Samoa, all three for ippon. Waterhouse later took the second bronze, throwing Funaki for ippon with right Uchi mata.

After so much spectacular ippon scoring Judo the final, between the two New Caledonians, was something of an anticlimax. Neither fighter raised their game, or was really prepared to take risks and the contest was scoreless at both full time and at the end of the golden score period. With nothing to choose between the two the split hantei went to Trindade.

New Caledonia's six gold medals today have shown that they are a considerable Judo force. Sadly their status as a part of France makes it unlikely that we will ever see their athletes on the World or Olympic stage, except if they can fight their way into the French team. Here in Suva today's performance has guaranteed that they will finish top of the South Pacific Games Judo medal table unless Fiji can win both Open weights and both team competitions tomorrow. Certainly the team event will provide cosiderable excitement and there is everything still to play for.

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MEN

-60kg

CHEVALIER, Cyril (NCL)


-66kg
DULAC, Paul (NCL)

-73kg
TRINDADE, de Habreud (NCL)


-81kg
LALLUT, Antony (TAH)

-90kg
BERTAND, Arnaud (TAH)

-100kg
PAPAI, Jerome (NCL)

+100kg
QEREWAQA, Nacanelli (FIJ)

Open
NACENELI Qerewaqa: (FIJ)

Team
Gold: FIJI
Silver: New Caledonia
Bronze: Tahiti

WOMEN

-48kg

DULAC Helene (NCL)

-52kg
THOMAS Audrey (NCL)

-57kg
DELOTS Rosa (NCL)

-63kg
KADDOUR, Melissa (NCL)

-70kg
RASOKISOKI, Sisilia (FIJ)

-78kg
NAVIRI, Ana (FIJ)

+78kg
NAVIRI, Ana (FIJ))

Open
NAISIGA Sisilia (FIJ)

Team
Gold: FIJI
 
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