THE PNG women’s squash team bagged the country’s first gold medal at the Mini Pacific Games in Raratonga, Cook Islands, on Saturday.
The team of Barbara Stubbings, Kristine Seko, Imong Brooksbank, Vanessa Nagul and Dorothy Boyce excelled to reap PNG’s only gold medal to date.
PNG’s top seed Stubbings set the pace in the opening match against Cook Islands’ Edwina Winchester, winning 11-8, 9-11, 11-5 and 11-2.
Brooksbank followed with an 11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8 and 11-3 victory over Anita Boaza, while Seko triumphed over Cook Islands top player Christine Ina Hunter 8-11, 11-11, 11.5, 11-3 and 11-4.
Nagul added the icing on the cake with a 13-11, 14-12, 11-6 victory against Bernadette Raffe to ensure a 6-0 victory and maintain PNG’s reputation as the regional champions in women’s squash, a benchmark set by the likes of Naluge Guy.
In the second match, PNG introduced Dorothy Boyce against the Fijians.
She substituted Brooksbank in the match and the PNG team made a 6-0 clean sweep of their individual matches, recording a massive 132 points to Fiji’s 42.
Against Samoa in the third game, Vanesa Nagul was rested as Boyce returned to team up with the others and stormed through the individual matches for another 6-0 clean sweep of Samoa.
For the final and deciding match against New Caledonia, Stubbings led Brooksbank, Seko and Nagul to respectively beat their opponents Marie Pierre Leca 11-5,11-9,11-3, Vanessa Quach 11-6, 11-5, 11-7, Jennifer Coligliano 11-4, 11-7, 11-6
and Sylvaine Durand 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.
In the men’s competition, Michael Ruckingler, Madako Suari Jnr, Joe Yominao, Kerry Walsh and Anthony Nagul settled for silver after dropping their final match to New Caledonia 5-1. Team PNG Chef de Mission Stan Walker confirmed the achievements of the PNG squash team events adding that the singles events were going well with Stubbings, Seko and Brooksbank all in medal contention.
Meanwhile, the men’s and women’s fours bowling teams are playing strongly in bids to make the finals, while the singles are struggling to find form to keep up with the pace of the game.
In touch the mixed team competition have already started with PNG recording a big 22-1 win over Tahiti, before dropping the games against Fiji 9-6 and host Cook Islands 8-7
Walker said va’a and netball teams were on their way back home and should be arriving back this morning.