The opening day of the beach volleyball Oceania Commonwealth Games qualifier at the Vanuatu 2017 Pacific Mini Games saw victories for Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands in the men’s event, and Tuvalu and Fiji in the women’s.
A rain-affected afternoon saw only five of the 10 scheduled matches played at the Korman Stadium complex.
In the men’s event, Papua New Guinea defeated Kiribati 2-0 (21-18, 21-8) in an impressive performance, which gave spectators the impression that the PNG team is very well prepared and has arrived in Vanuatu with a winning mindset.
Fiji beat Solomon Islands 2-0 (21-11, 21-13) in a tough encounter, in which Fiji came from behind in the first set to dominate the match.
Qilu Elliot was particularly impressive for Fiji, to the delight of relatives who were watching live in Port Vila.
Solomon Islands coach Thomas Tebaubau said there were encouraging signs, despite his team’s opening defeat.
“Comparing the last tournament we competed in, the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games in PNG, and this one, I’ve seen more improvements in our game today,” he said.
In the third men’s match, Cook Islands needed 3 sets to overcome Tuvalu 2-1 (17-21, 21-12, 18-16).
In the women’s event, Tuvalu defeated Kiribati 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) andFiji defeated Solomon Islands 2-1 (18-21, 21-13, 15-11).
Story by Massang Falau
Photo by Peter Carroll