PNG and American Samoa take beach volleyball gold

American Samoa's Rachelle Suaava and Litara Sisitina won gold on Saturday. Photo by GNS.

American Samoa’s Rachelle Suaava and Litara Sisitina won gold on Saturday. Photo by GNS.

By Joel Fitzpatrick, Games News Service

PORT MORESBY, July 18 – Papua New Guinea’s men’s beach volleyball team of Richard Kilarupa and Moha Mea won Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games gold, beating Aisake Raratabu and Waisale Suka of Fiji in straight sets.

The local duo took advantage of Raratabu’s limited mobility – he suffered a right knee injury earlier in the tournament – to run out easy victors 27-25, 21-12.

A teary Mea said after the match that it was not an easy win, despite their advantage.

“I’m pretty excited at the moment, very happy for the hard work we have put through to achieve this gold medal,” he said.

“We marked the Fijian guy who was injured since yesterday’s game so that’s how we pulled through (to win gold).”

Raratabu said that the injury did play a large part in his performance, but that the PNG team were clearly better on the day.

“In every sport we play we have injuries and it won’t make the game go the way you expect it to be,” said the Fijian.

“For me playing in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final, like all Fijians, we always play hard even though we are having injuries,” he said.

“At the moment we are happy with the silver, because at the moment a better team in Papua New Guinea has won, and we congratulate them on their win.”

In the men’s bronze match American Samoa beat Tonga.

American Samoa's Rachelle Suaava and Litara Sisitina won gold on Saturday. Photo by GNS.

American Samoa’s Rachelle Suaava and Litara Sisitina won gold on Saturday. Photo by GNS.

Earlier in the day the American Samoan pair of Rachelle Suaava and Litara Sisitina beat Vanuatu’s Loti Joe and Leeslyn Ler in three sets to take women’s gold.

In one of the stranger gold medal celebrations at the Games, the American Samoans had a quick embrace mid-court before sprinting to a waiting car and driving out of the Sir John Guise precinct – presumably to get on a plane.

In comical scenes at the medal ceremony, an embarrassed-looking male American Samoa team official accepted the gold medals on their behalf, standing on the podium beside the girls from Vanuatu and bronze medallists Tahiti.

GNS jf/kd

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