Great pride in Team Vanuatu participation in Ashgabat
The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games may not have been their focus at this point in time, but the small Vanuatu contingent to the Ashgabat 2017 have made remarkable achievements in their own respect.
Since they began their competitions on Monday 18 September they have recorded personal and seasonal best timings in athletics, while performing impressively in both taekwando and indoor tennis competitions.
Team Vanuatu are competing in Indoor Athletics (5 thletes), Indoor Tennis (6 athletes) and in Taekwando (2 athletes).
In the indoor athletics, Nathan Kalman has recorded “personal best” timing (50.67secs) while Paula Nalau has recorded “seasonal best” timing (51.09secs), both in the men’s 400m hits on Monday 18 September.
Also on Monday, Leniker Thomas and Marie Luwuslili lost their tennis games to much high seeded oponents, but not with a good fighting spirit. Thomas lost to Sumit Nagal of India (0-2) and Luwuslili lost to one of Kazakistan’s top, Alexandra Grinchishna (0-2).
Ian Tasso was the first of the two ni-Vanuatu taekwando athletes to go into action in the men’s taekwando 54kg division. Kalman lost to Tenzin Dorji of Bhutan (9-17). Taekwando Vanuatu team leader at the games James Savei says he was impressed at Kalman’s performance.
“In fact he peformed and scored much better than the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea (2015)”, Savei says.
On Tuesday 19 September, the day began with the disappointing disqualification of George Vinjaria Molisingi for his false start in the men’s 60m heat 1. But the athletics team bounced back to put smiles on the faces of those ni-Vanuatu officials and athletes who were cheering among those thousands of spectators and other teams within the indoor auditorium, when Daniel Philimon came on in heat 2 to record his “personal best” timing (7.06secs) and earning a place in the semi-finals.
Philimon ran the semi-final in 7.12secs – slower than his firs timing but still within the 7 sec time frame.
In the indoor tennis competition, Vanuatu’s local star Cyrille Jacobe who was making his first competition appearance since the 2015 PG in PNG, captured one moment in time in the men’s singles challenge when he held Iran’s current Davi’s Cup rep Amirvala Madanchi for more than 2 hours.
The 23 year old Iranian champion won the match 2 sets to 1, but he had to pull out all he got – including taking a medial break - to snatch victory over the much older ni-Vanuatu opponent (11 years older).
“I am happy with my performance… in fact I was surprised that even after 2 years of no competition at all, yet I managed to hold on beyond 2 hours against him”, Jacobe says with a satisfying smile.
Again on the same day, junior ni-Vanuatu female tennis player Rosalie Molbaleh (15 years old) lost (0-2) to another top opponent from India. Bhatia Riya, 19, is ranked 514, and is one of India’s best.
Meanwhile it is a quiet morning part of the day today Wednesday 20 September for the ni-Vanuatu sportsmen and women at the Ashgabat 2017 games.
But at 6.10pm today, the athletics team will compete in their last event of the games – the 4X400m men’s race.
Vanuatu are drawn in to heat number 1. There are two heats in the 4x400 men.
According to team leader David Patunvanu, the four on the relay team will be Paul Wilson Nalau, George Vince Molisingi, Daniel Philimon and Nathan Kalman.; and according to team leader Patunvanu, this will be the order in which the boys will race this evening.
There is also the mixed doubles game for Vanuatu at 6pm today. Leniker Thomas and Rosalie Molbaleh will be pairing against Hong Kong’s Wong and Ip.
The men’s doubles timing and draw is yet to be announced. Cyrille Jacobe and junior champ Clement Mainguy will be pairing for Vanuatu in the event.
In Taekwando, the second ni-Vanuatu fighter Freddy Saksak will be up against Shukurat Salaev of Uzbekistan. The timing to be announced during weigh this morning.
Team Vanuatu Chef de Mission Henry Tavoa is happy with the performance of the ni-Vanuatu athletes.
“Seeing them recording personal best timings and giving such challenges to those athletes who have prepared very highly for this games is encouraging.
“Our focus is the Pacific Mini Games, and our participation here is part of our ongoing building up of our athletes toward Van2017”, he says.