Taekwondo athlete Andrea Kilday, 32, fought her way into the history books overnight winning New Zealands first Pacific Games gold medal.
Spearheading a three-strong New Zealand female Taekwondo contingent, the Christchurch born athlete and mother of two now has her sights set firmly on qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Speaking shortly after the fight Kilday said it felt awesome to have won.
Its what I needed to do, especially for qualifications next year for Rio. Winning here will help a bit more, she said.
Competing in the Womens -46 kilogram division, Kilday rose to the occasion in a tightly contested final bout against Deanna Kyriazopoulos of Australia. The Australian fought hard right to the end, managing to close the small gap between herself and Kilday with a well-executed body shot in the final two seconds of the closing round. This crucial move drew the match level forcing the fight into golden point extra-time.
Despite the added pressure, Kilday rose to the challenge claiming victory with a final blow.
I knew I had to move around and not allow her to do her cuts, said Kilday, who rounded out the fight with a sharp head shot to secure the gold medal.
I had to work to shut her down. It was pretty even the whole way and it was important for me to keep calm and stick to what I knew I had to do.
This win sees Kilday collect 40 important qualification points and shifts her into a stronger position on the world ranking ladder. The points take her one step closer to realising her dream of competing at the Rio Olympic Games in August 2016.
Kildays next focus, funding permitting, is to work towards gaining more points by competing at either the Indonesian Open in September or the Thailand Open in November 2015.
In other weight categories yesterday, New Zealand claimed two silver medals with Rhiannon ONeill fighting in the -62 kilogram and Zhanna Sattsaeva in the -67 kilogram division.
Today sees the New Zealand men compete with four of New Zealands top Taekwondo athletes set to challenge for Pacific Games medals.
With the Pacific Games drawing to a close tomorrow evening New Zealands Chef de Mission Natalie Tong has spoken highly of the level of competition and rich culture of Papua New Guinea.
The team is really looking forward to tomorrow nights Closing Ceremony and celebrating what has been a warm welcome into the Pacific Games family for New Zealand, she said.
The newly refurbished Sir John Guise Stadium will play host to the Closing Ceremony which will be screened live on Maori Television and Te Reo from 10:00pm NZT.Taekwondo