The Pacific Games 2023, held in the Solomon Islands from November 27th to December 2nd, marked a monumental occasion for netball enthusiasts. With participation from nine countries, the competition unfolded in a flurry of thrilling matchups and historic victories.
Nine nations, including six Full Members (Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga) and three Associate Members (Niue, Norfolk, Vanuatu), ignited the courts in a vibrant display of netball prowess. Divided into two pools initially, the teams navigated through a round-robin phase before advancing to stage two, where the top four teams vied for higher ranks.
The host nation, Solomon Islands, captivated fans with a nail-biting doubleheader on their final day. The young, determined squad from Niue scripted history with a narrow 55-54 victory, igniting jubilant celebrations. Solomon Islands continued their impressive form, securing a commanding 65-32 win against Vanuatu, showcasing remarkable growth throughout the tournament.
In the playoff for 5th and 6th place, Norfolk Islands displayed tenacity, providing stiff competition against the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands, blending emerging talents with seasoned players, clinched an admirable 5th place finish, signaling their vision to revitalize Cook Islands netball.
Tonga made history by securing their maiden gold medal at the Pacific Games, triumphing in a gripping final against formidable opponents. Displaying composure and determination, they claimed victory with a hard-fought 56-52 score, marking a watershed moment in Pacific netball history.
Expressing sheer delight, Tonga's captain, Hulita Veve, reflected on the unexpected win, stating, "We came out fighting – we both wanted to win, and to have it in our favor in the end is indeed sweet and refreshing." Veve extended gratitude to the Solomon Islands for hosting an exceptional tournament.
Meanwhile, Samoa clinched the bronze medal, prevailing over a resilient Papua New Guinea side with a 52-49 score. Captain Kristiana Manua acknowledged the intense challenge posed by PNG, highlighting the team's resilience and dedication.
The Pacific Games 2023 showcased moments of resilience, skill, and relentless pursuit of excellence, underscoring the prominence of netball in the region. Each team's spirited performances and unwavering determination made this edition an unforgettable chapter in Pacific netball history. One Ocean, One Family.
For a comprehensive overview and detailed results, click here.