By Brian Tobia and Chris Yandawai, Games News Service
PORT MORESBY July 17 – Australian sisters Carmen and Caroline Marton bagged gold medals on the same day in women’s taekwondo at the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games on Thursday.
The pair won titles in the -62kg and -53kg divisions respectively as Australia dominated day one of taekwondo at BSP Arena to win four of the eight gold medals on offer.
Twenty-nine-year-old Carmen, the 2013 Australian national champion, was merciless in beating New Zealand’s Rhiannon O’Neill 19-2 while Caroline, 31, also dominated her final to win 12-0 over Alison Dean of Tahiti.
“I’m very happy. There was a lot of pressure going into this competition because it was part of the Olympic selections,” Caroline said. “I was a little bit nervous but am very, very happy.”
“Australian women’s taekwondo have a long history of being very, very competitive. A lot of friends in Australia have taken the initiative to go overseas to develop themselves, and it is really, really good. We are very passionate and a lot of us are able to work together.”
Meanwhile Carmen was overwhelmed with the gold medal wins and performances of the Australian squad.
“It was really a tough day. There are some new competitors that we have not seen before,” Carmen said. “They are coming with really new fighting styles so I enjoyed fighting today. It has been a real challenge.”
“It has been really tough but I’m really glad I’ve come away with the win.”
“I always get so nervous when I watch my sister compete. I was just thinking that I wanted the best for her and I wanted her to stick to her game plan.”
The other two Australian gold medals were won by Keshena Waterford in the -49kg division and Nicole Men in the -73kg category.
Both wins were against Papua New Guineans as Waterford’s beat Rahab Loi and Ben defeated Samantha Kassman.
“It was pretty good,” Waterford said of her performance, “but there are some things that need working on in terms of concentrating for the full match.”
“I was in a pretty good mental state, actually last week we learnt how to mentally control those things. I was feeling pretty good as we’ve been practicing it.”
“The short ones, it is always easier for them to get under my kicks because I am quite tall.”
In other gold medal bouts, Andrea Kilday (NZL), Mataheitini Rahauti (TAH), Noelyne Hetana (PNG) and Moehau Faaite (NCL) also won 2015 Pacific Games titles in the -46kg, -57kg, -67kg and +73kg classes respectively.
Kilday’s win was the closest of Thursday’s gold medal bouts.
“I am very happy. Two seconds to go and I scored a golden point,” Kilday said. “Wow, I was just like ‘oh man I just lost it’ but I kept calm in the fourth round and did it.”