SOL23: Tahiti collect more gold in kayak marathon races

Medallists in the women’s K2-16km marathon. Photos: Brian Hagi, Pacific Games News Service

Tahiti’s kayakers again paddled away with gold and silver medals during Thursday’s Sol2023 Pacific Games marathon races at DC Park.

The women’s K2-16km marathon race saw the Tahiti duo add another gold, making history for their kayaking team at the Pacific Games. They have won gold in the women’s K1-500m and K2-500m.

“I’m very happy and proud of my girls and the team for the win today,” Iloha Eychenne told the Pacific Games News Service. “Though the race is bumpy with lots of waves and strong wind, it’s a nice race indeed,” Tahiti’s golden paddler added.

Samoa claimed silver and New Caledonia settled for bronze in the women’s finals of this newly introduced Pacific Games water sport.

In the men’s K2-16km marathon race, New Caledonia took home a gold medal with a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes, and 20 seconds.

“I’m really happy for the first time that kayak is contested at the Pacific Games. Thank you to Solomon Islands for the great competition,” gold medalist Benjamin Legavre of New Caledonia said after their successful campaign in the kayak competition.

Tahiti again paddled in to claim silver with a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes, and 28 seconds.

“The race was hard, as it was flatter today. My goal was to go for a gold medal, but I’m happy to get a silver,” said Charles Taie of the Tahiti kayak team.

“The guys from New Caledonia are really good guys. So, we rally with them; they’re the fastest, and I would like to congratulate them.”

The third team in the race, Solomon Islands, secured an historic bronze medal with a time of 1 hour and 24 minutes, which was described as a “positive start” for the development of the water sport that was recently introduced in the country.

“I would like to say thank you to the coaches and all my teammates. Through all their encouragement and advice, we worked hard and managed to win this medal,” said Bouro Maesua, who registered the first medal for his country with his partner in the sport of kayak.

By Willie Fafale, Jaylyn Ernest and Bronwyn Sirogaro Townshend, Pacific Games News Service