It has been a strong start to competition for New Zealand athletes at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.
A thrilling photo finish for New Zealands top young swimmers saw flag bearer Bobbi Gichard take gold in the 100m backstroke with Gabrielle Faamausili narrowly taking silver. Wilrich Coetzee also took gold in the 200m butterfly, leading from start to finish but with pressure increasing on his position as race wound up over the final five metres ending in a scintillating finish.
Athletics also had an strong day with five personal bests recorded on day one. Lucy Sheat exploded into the 100m final and ended in fourth position with a PB of 11.83. Nick Smith (mens 100m, 12th) Amanda Fitisemanu (womens 400m) and Felix McDonald (mens long jump) also recorded PBs.
In other NZ news around the village in Samoa:
Eleanor Epke is through to the squash semi-finals in the girls singles with two wins today.
Luke Jones started strong in the boys singles for squash with a win over Norfolk Island first up this morning, but unfortunately lost his second match to India and is out of contention. Jones will pair up with Abbie Palmer for the mix doubles on Wednesday before Palmer and Epke team up for the womens doubles.
Hoesa Watson boxing, light welter weight division was beaten by his opponent from Scotland and wont progress further in the Games.
Seamus Curtin will have a hard bowls match tomorrow after losing first fist match to England but then recording wins against Cook Islands and South Africa.
Ashleigh Jeffcoat recorded one win and two losses to be out of the competition, but will pair up with Curtin in the mixed pairs starting Wednesday.
Paige Lawgun in the under 53kg weigh class for weight lifting missed her first two lifts at 49kgs, but then was successful on her third attempt. She got two of her clean and jerks which placed her 6th in the competition.
Commonwealth Youth Games Reaching Out to Children
More than 1,000 children from across Samoa are taking part in OFC Just Play Festivals celebrating the power and potential of sport, as part of the Commonwealth Youth Games Athlete Personal Development programme.Having kicked-off activities on September 7th, on the opening day of competition, the excitement from the field was palpable as children and athletes from around the globe took part side-by-side in OFC Just Play activities.Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive David Grevemberg said: Our vision is to inspire Commonwealth athletes to drive the ambition and impact of all Commonwealth citizens through sport. The UNICEF supported Just Play Festivals, connecting local school children with our young Commonwealth athletes, are an inclusive and inspiring example of how communities can come together, support each other and tackle big issues on the level playing field of sport. With this vision in mind, from September 7th to the 11th, athletes in the Commonwealth Youth Games and children from local community schools will engage in OFC Just Play Festivals delivered by the Football Federation of Samoa and workshops sessions facilitated by the Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Working Group.As part of the Festival programme athletes and children alike will participate in fun, interactive sessions focusing on health, gender, inclusion and protection. As part of a key programme in the Pacific region, Just Play, developed by the Oceania Football Confederation, is using sport to help children develop healthy lifestyle habits, encourage gender equality, promote social inclusion, insist on sport for all and help children become confident in their abilities. Every day throughout the Pacific the OFC Just Play programme reaches out to thousands of children, helping them to grow, learn and explore through sport.