SOL23: New Caledonia triumph in women’s windsurfing and men’s dinghy finals

Conditions were tricky on the final day of sailing. Photos: Brian Hagi, Pacific Games News Service

Saturday, the final day of the Games, was also the last day of sailing events at DC Park, and New Caledonia added two more gold medals to their tally.

The battle for supremacy in the sailboard female lightweight (windsurf) category was intense, with every participant pushing their limits to seize glory.

New Caledonia’s Solenn Paule Gourand ép. Calvet won gold, her teammate Sarah Hebert claimed silver, and Australia’s Amelia Wilson collected bronze.

Hebert told the Pacific Games News Service: “Today was a nice competition for me, but the challenge I faced during the medal race was that the wind was shifty and tricky. However, I managed to secure victory in gold, representing my country, New Caledonia”.

In the women’s teams sailboard competition New Caledonia’s Gourand ép. Calvet and Hebert collected gold and Australia silver. As there were only three teams competing (including Tahiti), no bronze medal was awarded.

Australia’s dynamic duo, Wilson and teammate Charlotte Wormald displayed remarkable teamwork and tactical brilliance throughout the competition, earning them a well-deserved place on the podium.

Wilson told the Pacific Games News Service: “The race today didn’t really go to plan as the wind fully dropped at 5 knots. The sailing was not ideal, leading to two lots of races on the points. Then, for the medal race, the wind picked up to 15 knots, which is perfect, and it was a really good wind to race.

“We got a really great race, and it was definitely tight racing, which really pushed me off at the start, ending up putting me in third place in the individual and second in the teams,” she added.

In the one-person dinghy individual male, New Caledonia’s Etienne Le Pen claimed gold, Samoa’s Eroni Leilua earned silver, and Australia’s Isaac Schotte collected bronze.

In the one-person dinghy team male, New Caledonia won gold, Australia silver and Samoa bronze

Le Pen told the Pacific Games News Service: “I’m really happy today because I won the gold in the individual race, so it was less pressure for me (in the teams event). During the medal race, I focused on winning the gold for my team, so it was a good race for me”.

Australia’s sailors Schotte and Tom Farly said: “It was a great day racing on the water, and the weather is good. It was an intense race, as we managed to finish in second place. Credit goes to New Caledonia for their great performance today, and yes, we are so happy and excited to come in second place even though it was a tough contest, but we managed to finish off the line with great excitement”.

The winds at DC Park proved to be both friend and foe, challenging the sailors to adapt swiftly and make split-second decisions. Saturday’s medal races final showcased the epitome of sportsmanship and dedication as these athletes raced against time and each other to etch their names in Pacific Games history.

By Tali Dever, Pacific Games News Service