New Caledonia grabs four golds in judo

New Caledonia has grabbed four of the six gold medals contested on the last day of the judo competition at the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games.

In the women’s lightweight category, New Caledonia's Jaycee Brival took gold, her team mate Rosa Delots silver, and the two bronze went to NCL’s Cloe Omo-Perraut and Fiji’s Veniana Ravesi.

For the women’s heavyweight open, there was a surprise victory in gold for Shanice Takayawa of Fiji. Poerava Temakeu of Tahiti settled for silver and the bronze was shared by Tahiti’s Rauhiti Vernaudon and Teraimatuatini Bopp.

When asked what gave her the winning edge today, Takayawa said: “Faith in the Lord, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, my teammates and family. During the fight my coach gave me guidance on my grips and what to do.”

NCL’s Jason Appavou took gold in the men’s lightweight division, trailed by teammates Ugo Langlois for silver and David Mai for bronze. The bronze title was shared with Tahiti’s Gaston Lafon.

The men’s heavyweight champion is Cyril Gaudemer of Tahiti. Silver goes to Tonga’s Finetu’ui Moala and NCL’s Teva Gourlou and William Fayard will share the bronze title.

“I was thinking ‘1 fight by 1 fight’ hoping to pass the metre,” Gaudemer said of his thoughts during the matches. His message to everyone back home in Tahiti is simply, “I’m happy to bring the medal!”

In the women’s team event, New Caledonia took gold, Fiji silver, and Tahiti bronze.

The men’s team event ended with New Caledonia leaving with the gold, Tahiti taking the silver, and host country Samoa keeping the bronze on the island.

NCL coach Pierre Jean Lung gave some insight into the teams’ strategy for victory.

“We prepared for this event for maybe six years. We started when some of them were kids. We reached out to the NCL division and some of the athletes want to become part of the French team, so we set a structure where we can prepare some athletes to become champions.”

Lung was also impressed by some unexpectedly strong competitors, whose their medal-winning form took him by surprise.

“In judo, what I like is nothing is written on the paper; for example, the Fijian girl [Takayawa] beat the girls from Tahiti who are on the French team. [Takayawa] beat her!”