By Lorraine Genia – EM TV Sports, Port Moresby
Fiji’s hockey team is very confident of taking out gold in the Pacific Games this year.
During the Oceania Pacific Cup at the National Hockey Centre last month in Fiji, Fiji defeated Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu.
With the games expected to be bigger and better this time around, this year should see some good competition from PNG’s Pacific counterparts.
In previous years, team Fiji has trailed behind reigning champions New Caledonia in third place, with Papua New Guinea in a recurrent position of 4th.
Given the statistics, and PNG’s confidence in reciting the victory from the 1991 games, tough competition is expected to come from New Caledonia, who has topped the medal tally consecutively since 1999.
Fiji, however, are hungry for success this time around, hosting the games in Suva three times already. This year, their strength is likely to come from the codes of rugby sevens, boxing, hockey, and athletics.
Fiji’s boxing team will be heading overseas for training and international exposure in the lead up to the Pacific Games, while their athletics contingent is expected to begin their preps for the Pacific Games, early next month.
Sprint sensation, Banuve Tabakaucoro, and current national record holder for the 200m sprints, at 21.18 seconds and a personal best of 10.33 seconds for the 100m sprints, Banuve will be Nelson Stone and Kupun Wisil’s biggest threat in the Pacific Games.
As the momentum continues to build on the shores of PNG’s neighbouring countries, team PNG’s contingent is expected to be finalised in the month of February.