The first of sailing medals have been decided in Samoa at the South Pacific Games with New Caledonia's Christophe RENAUD and Alban ROSSOLLIN winning gold in the Hobie 16.
New Caledonia picked up the gold and bronze medals in the Hobie 16 fleet, whilst Tahiti sneaked by to take the silver medal after Tuesday 's races. The Laser and Laser Radial Medal Races will decide the other medals today. Home hopes are high for Samoa's Luana MILROY to take a medal in the Laser Radial fleet, the only question being of colour as she fends off Charlotte LABROY of New Caledonia to keep the silver.
Tuesday morning brought overcast skies and the prospect of continuing the drab, wet and windless weather from Monday, but as the hours progressed, the clouds dispersed and winds reached 18 knots giving the competitors something to smile about after rains stole away the wind on Monday. The day's events started with the first half of the Laser class followed by the Hobie class and then the second half of the Laser class. The winds were also favourable enough to allow one run with the Laser Radial as a threatening storm front veered south away from the competition area.
In the Hobie class, New Caledonia's dominance faltered slightly as its second team, Rudolph CHICHENNARIAR and Maxine CHAZDARELLY came in fifth and sixth in the day's races. This gave Tahiti's Teiva VERONIQUE and Moana LE CALVI the opportunity they needed to squeeze into second place with third place finishes for both of the day's races. New Caledonia came away with the gold and bronze medals while Tahiti took the silver medal. The surprise of the day came during the 12th and final race when Fiji's team, skipper Grahame SOUTHWEIK and 14 year old crewmate Kevenii NATADRA, took advantage of the light winds and finished first after consistently finishing in the middle of the pack throughout the competition.
In the Laser class, New Caledonia's Michael BORDE and Feri MALHEIU are in the gold and silver medal positions, after soundly defeating all other opponents by comfortable distances. BORDE finished first in all the races minus a bad start in the first race. Teammate MALHEIU is just behind him, with ten points overall behind BORDE's nine. Tahiti's Jessee BESSON is in the bronze medal position on 15 points.
In the Laser Radials, MILROY of Samoa remained in contention for the silver as she finished ahead of Paiscillia POANIEWA of New Caledonia, the two finishing fourth and fifth in the day's single race. The two sit at second and third in the standings with 31 and 33 points while Cawle DABIN, POANIEWA's team mate, sits on top with a comfortable point total of 15 points. Today's Medal Race will be a decisive factor in determining which will receive the silver or bronze medals.