Pacific silver medals rain down

Fijiana, the Fiji women’s rugby sevens team went down fighting to Australia 22-12 in the final of the Commonwealth Games, to settle for a silver medal.

This is only the second time women are competing in rugby at the Commonwealth Games.

The women’s competition proved as intense and fast paced as the men’s. The Fijiana silver medal also marked them as the first Pacific Island women’s team to win a medal at Birmingham.

It was Australia’s first women’s rugby Commonwealth gold after winning silver on home soil on the Gold Coast four years ago.

In the men’s division, South Africa stunned Olympic champions Fiji 31-7 to win men’s rugby sevens Commonwealth gold in Coventry.

First-half tries from Muller du Plessis, JC Pretorius and Shaun Williams saw South Africa surge into a 17-0 lead.

Du Plessis added a second after the break, and Mfundo Ndhlovu wrapped up a comfortable victory after Fiji skipper Waisea Nacuqu had managed a consolation effort.

The Fiji Men’s and Fijiana 7s teams pose with their Commonwealth Games silver medals in Coventry. Picture: Fiji Rugby Union Facebook

Fiji’s Commonwealth Games curse continues as the team has never won a Commonwealth gold medal in rugby sevens despite being the two time Olympic champions.

New Zealand claimed both men’s and women’s bronze, with Australia and Canada missing out on respective medals.

Scotland men had to settle for sixth after Samoa overturned a 19-14 deficit to win 24-19.

England beat Uganda 31-17 to finish ninth with Jamie Adamson claiming a hat-trick.

The silver medal for Fijiana means more participation in the sport from women, and the team has been lifting the bar in every tournament.

Day one – what happened at the games
The Pacific’s big Commonwealth Games hopes

Team Fiji Chef de Mission Sale Sorovaki said they were proud of the huge transformation happening in the Fijiana team.

“They are no longer the team that makes up the numbers, but they are a team that seriously contends for the prizes that are at stake,” Sorovaki said.

More silver medals

Samoan weightlifter Vaipava Ioane was full of emotion as he finished off his silver medal lifts. This was the last time the 34-year-old was going to compete at an international tournament.

He went for a lift of a massive 174kg in his third attempt at the clean & jerk round of men’s 67kg final.

The lifter announced his retirement after the final lift as tears streamed down his face. He took off his shoes and left them at the podium, a sign that he would never be competing again. He took a bow and went to the change room.

Samoan Weightlifter Vaipava Nevo Loane (L) with his silver medals during the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Picture: Samoa Weightlifting Federation Facebook Page

Ioane returned for the medal ceremony and was still very emotional. In a true Pacific gesture, he took off his traditional Samoan garland and put it around gold medal winner India’s Jeremy Lalrinnunga.

A day earlier Papua New Guinea’s Morea Baru became the first Pacific islander to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

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