Vanuatu’s women’s table tennis team won their country’s first gold medal of the Games on Wednesday, defeating New Caledonia 3-0 in the women’s team competition.

A lively crowd was kept on the edge of their seats at Korman Stadium’s indoor hall as they willed the Vanuatu players through the final, resulting in joyful scenes as the team claimed gold.

Team member Liopa Santhy said she was delighted to win gold on home turf for the first time.

“I was nervous, but I had family members and supporters who gave us strong support to get through to the final,” she said.

Veteran table tennis representative Annolyn Lulu, returning to elite competition after taking two years off to have a baby, said she was emotional and proud of the team’s performance in front of their home fans.

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, said: “I’m extremely proud of our table tennis girls. A gold medal was expected but when it happens, it’s a wonderful moment.”

New Caledonia picked up silver as a result of the loss to Vanuatu, while Fiji beat Papua New Guinea 3-0 in the bronze medal match.

Story by Flo Vanua and Ericka Mabon

Photo by Natasha Wainberg