By James Cowling, Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 5 – Tahiti will be looking for another clean sweep at va’a at the Pacific Games when racing gets underway at Port Moresby 2015 on Monday July 6.
Tahiti took all 12 gold medals on offer at Noumea 2011 with New Caledonia the bridesmaid on 11 occasions and the Cook Islands on the other.
The word va’a means boat, canoe or ship in Samoan, Hawaiian and Tahitian languages respectively and is known in other parts of the world as the outrigger canoe.
It is a long, narrow, single or doubled hulled boat with one or more lateral floats known as outriggers attached to one or both sides of the hull.
The va’a dates back 4,000 years and is an important part of Polynesian culture. The traditional va’a was the means of transportation around the islands of the South Pacific.
The International Va’a Federation (IVF) was established in 1981. The first world sprint championship took place in 1984 in Long Beach, California.
The sport of va’a is becoming increasing popular as it instils the Polynesian values of family, teamwork and sportsmanship.
It was first included in the South Pacific Games at Papeete, Tahiti in 1995.
Traditionally Tahiti is the team to beat and twelve events will be contested in Port Moresby by crews of one (V1), six (V6) and 12 (V12).
The men’s and women’s sprints are the V1 500m, V12 500m, V6 500m and V6 1500m.
The longer races are the women’s V1 10km, men’s V1 15km, women’s V6 20km and men’s V6 30km.
The va’a sprints will take place at the Naval Base on July 6 and 7, while the longer events will take place at Ela Beach on July 10 and 11.