The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have come to an end, and the Pacific island nations have won a total of 12 medals, split among six nations.
While athletes have performed exceptionally, most have credited their achievements to their coaches, officials and mentors who have guided them.
The only gold medal for the region was won by Samoan weightlifter Don Opolenge. Samoa’s performance was impressive as the nation’s lifters also won three silver medals and another silver in boxing.
Fiji won four medals overall, two in rugby sevens and two in weightlifting. The Fijian teams have been chasing the elusive Commonwealth gold in rugby sevens for some time despite being the two time Olympic champions.
Weightlifting was a sport most Pacific islands nations did well in, with medals going to Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
Vanuatu managed a bronze from women’s beach volleyball, and Niue gained its first-ever Commonwealth Games medal with a boxing bronze.
Cook Islands boxer Tawhiri Toheriri said some officials and coaches do more than just create athletes. He said they shape individuals into who they are.
For Toheriri, the experience from the Games has prepared him for the future.
“Growing up without a father figure at home. My first boxing coach, James Kahukoti, he stood up and he became the father I never had. He took on that role, without him I wouldn’t be here representing The Cook Islands today,” said Toheriri.
Samoa’s Kokoro Frost said athletes of Oceania were thankful to all the officials that have been supporting them during the games.
“I’d just like to give the biggest fa’afetai (thanks) to not only the team officials but to all the officials that gave up their time to ensure the games ran how it did! Big love,” said Frost.
Full list of Pacific medals:
Nauru (1) – Bronze Maximina Uepa Weightlifting women’s 76 kg
Niue (1) – Bronze Duken Tutakitoa-Williams Boxing men’s heavyweight
Vanuatu (1) – Bronze Miller Pata/ Sherysyn Toko Beach volleyball women’s
PNG (1) – Silver Morea Baru Weightlifting men’s 61 kg
– Silver Fiji men’s rugby sevens team
– Silver Fiji women’s rugby sevens team
– Bronze Taniela Rainibogi Weightlifting men’s 96 kg
– Bronze Naibili Vatunisolo women’s discus throw F44/64
– Gold Don Opeloge Weightlifting men’s 96 kg
– Silver Vaipava Ioane Weightlifting men’s 67 kg
– Silver Jack Opeloge Weightlifting men’s 109 kg
– Silver Feagaiga Stowers Weightlifting women’s +87 kg
– Silver Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali Boxing Heavyweight