By Francis Gabriel, Port Moresby 2015 Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 16 – New Caledonia swept gold medals in both the men’s and women’s squash doubles finals in Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games competition on Thursday at the Steamships Racquet Centre.
Fabian Dinh and Nicolas Massenet won in three sets 11-7, 7-11,11-4 against Fijian pair Marika Matanatabu and Romit Parshottam, to defend New Caledonia’s men’s doubles title won by Laurent Guepy and Etienne Marziac in 2011.
Meanwhile, in the women’s doubles final Sylvaine Durund and Christelle Nagle outplayed Papua New Guinea’s Nicole Gibbs and Sheila Morove to win in straight sets 11-7, 11-9.
“We are happy to defend the gold medal title New Caledonia won four years ago (by Guepy and Marziac),” Dinh said. “We (Dinh and Massenet) finished third in the last Pacific Games in Noumea, so it was an honour to finish on top this time.”
“Thank you to the New Caledonia squash team and those, including fellow athletes, who came out here to support and cheer for us, backing us all the way.”
The Fijians had bounced back to win the second set but could not stop a determined Dinh and Massenet and had to settle for silver. For Matanatabu, at least it was medal. Four years ago in Noumea he and then partner, Justin Ho, lost their doubles semifinal and bronze medal match to different New Caledonia pairings and finished fourth.
“It’s just bad luck,” said Matanatabu’s Port Moresby 2015 partner Parshottam. “They played better than us in the last set. We just couldn’t do what we were supposed to do.”
“We couldn’t maintain the ball. We let the ball go on instead of killing it. That’s what we did to win the second set.”
Durund, who won women’s doubles gold in 2011 with Vanessa Quach, was pleased with her new partnership with Nagle.
“We were surprised when we won in the morning (semifinal),” Durand said. “And this afternoon we thought ‘we have nothing to lose’, and we played 100 per cent and did well.”
“We are proud to win gold for our country and happy for a solid partnership as it is the first time for us playing together.”
Gibbs congratulated Durund and Nagle, but admitted the PNG pair had struggled because Morove was injured.
“They were a better team,” Gibbs said. “But my partner was injured (ankle sprain) in the match against New Caledonia (Claire Faucompre and Kareen Hamou), making it difficult to keep up.”
In bronze medal matches, Gael Gosse and Laurent Guepy from New Caledonia defeated Justin Ho and Andrew McGoon from Fiji 11-10, 8-11, 11-6 won the men’s event while Lynette Vai and Eli Webb of Papua New Guinea took the women’s with a 11-10, 11-8 win over Faucompre and Hamou of New Caledonia.
GNS fg/pg for more information visit www.portmoresby2015.com