Sending a larger team to Apia (2007), resulted in more medals and more national records.
With Samoa being much closer than many other destinations in the Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu was able to send a much larger team.
A total of 45 events were contested, 23 by men and 22 by women. At this games six new records were set – 1 by the men and 5 by the women. Vanuatu won 2 gold, 1 silver and 9 bronze medals. In keeping with recent history, the Table Tennis Team returned home with the most impressive medal haul The Women won the Team gold medal with solid performances by Anolyn Lulu, Priscilla Tommy, Pareina Matariki and Kerry Ann Mok. There was more gold for Priscilla Tommy in the Women’s Singles. Silver went to Anolyn Lulu [pictured] and Priscilla Tommy in the Women’s Doubles, and the Mixed Doubles saw Yiao Shing and Anolyn Lulu win the bronze.
The Beach Volleyball Team of Elwin Miller and Iatika Henriette won bronze in the Women’s Division. Boxing won two bronze medals courtesy of Gill Kalai (51kg Division) and Mathias Sapa (60kg Division).
The National Football Team won the bronze medal in their match with New Caledonia and Fiji winning the gold and silver.
In Athletics there were four bronze medals. Arnold Sorina won a matching pair in the middle distance events with bronze in the 800m (1:55.40s) and the 1500m (4:03.20s), and Sam Lavi took bronze in the 10000m (35:05.47s). It was a Melanesian clean-sweep in the Mens 4x400m Relay. First and second were Fiji and PNG; with the bronze to the Vanuatu quartet of Arnold Sorina [pictured at the 2012 Olympics], Moses Kamut, Jimmy Kassiley and Sam Kaiapam (3:16.43s).
For the second time the island of Rarotonga 2009 (Cook Islands) hosted Mini Pacific Games. At these Games, Team Vanuatu won 5 gold, four silver and 3 bronze medals.
Table Tennis confirmed its place as the strongest sport in Vanuatu. With no other countries were in the frame they won 5 gold medals, 1 silver and 3 bronze. The Women’s Singles resulted in Vanuatu’s first clean medal sweep in any sport. The gold to Priscilla Tommy, silver to Anolyn Lulu and Liopa Santhy taking bronze.
Men’s’ Singles gold went to Yoshua Shing, who teamed with Ham Frexly Lulu, won Men’s Doubles. The Women’s Doubles gold was won by Anolyn Lulu and Liopa Santhy. The pairing of Priscilla Tommy and Stephanie Qwen won the bronze in that event. The fifth gold medal to the all-conquering team was in the Women’s Team event with impressive wins to Anolyn Lulu, Liopa Santhy and Priscilla Tommy.
After the successful campaign, Anolyn Lulu paid tribute to the President of the Vanuatu Table Tennis Association: “We are forever thankful to Mr Mok Tsi Wei, he was the one who introduced table tennis to Vanuatu and we have won all our gold medals for him. Without his support we would surely not be where we are today”. The Men’s Tennis Team won their first medal with silver for Andrew Mailtorok, Cyril Jacobe, Cyrille Mainguy & Jerome Rovo. They were beaten in the finals by New Caledonia.
Once again Athletics relied on middle distance runner, Arnold Sorina for their only medals, He won silver in both the the 800m (1:56.39s) and the 1500m (4:15.11s).
For reasons not fully understood, PNG decided not to send an Athletics Team to the Games, leaving the door open to others in the chase for medals. Fiji won 15 gold medals on the track, but the field events (the real highlights of the Athletics competition) had the medals more evenly spread. With the five Games of the 2000’s over, a stronger and much improved Team Vanuatu started preparations for the next decade of Games in Nouméa, Wallis & Futuna and Port Moresby.