© Sol2023 Press

The Donga siblings, Stan and Rowena, each secured three bronze medals in the first two days of action at Maranatha Hall, while surprises unfolded in swimming at Sol 2023 with a large audience in the stands.

The weightlifting competition at the 2023 Pacific Games has been a family affair for the host country's nationals, Stan and Rovena Donga, who clinched three bronzes each for their country. The eldest of the family, Stan, continued his sister Rowena's feat from Monday, winning three medals in the men's 67 kg category and thus emulating his sister's triple bronze in the women's under 49kg category. The 25-year-old displayed absolute strength on the second day of competition, with a total lift of 238 kg in the men's 67 kg weight category.

Meanwhile, the Honiara Aquatic Center was the scene of surprises on the second day of swimming at the Pacific Games: it featured eight events with 15 preliminary heats plus eight finals on Tuesday.

In the first final of the night, Tasi Limtiaco from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) took two steps closer to his goal of a triple gold after winning the men's 50 meters breaststroke with a time of 29.17 seconds. Micah Masei from American Samoa (29.48) and Alexandre Gane from New Caledonia (29.60) completed the podium. Until these games, FSM had never won a swimming medal at the Pacific Games, and now they have two golds and a possibility of three. "It's definitely a step closer to the triple crown, that's my goal," said a delighted Limtiaco to the Pacific Games News Service.

In the women's 50-meter breaststroke event, Mary Connolly, one of the two only swimmers from the Cook Islands in these Games, claimed victory in 33.21 seconds, while Fijian teenager Kelera Mudunasuoko (33.42) took silver, and Georgia-Leigh Vele (34.75) from Papua New Guinea (PNG) finished third. New Caledonia, leading the medal tally, failed to add medals in this event, the only one in which they couldn't secure any.

Despite the setback in this event, New Caledonia comfortably leads the medal tally, doubling the second-placed Australia in the number of medals and having 5 more golds than the oceanic giant.

Solomon Islands win over Tonga. Photos: Pacific Games News Service.
Solomon Islands win over Tonga. Photos: Pacific Games News Service.

In another highly successful sport, men's volleyball, New Caledonia overcame Kiribati 3-1, securing their second victory against the bottom team in their group. The Solomon Islands defeated Tonga (3-1) in the same group, marking a recovery after two initial defeats by the hosts. In a clash of leaders, Papua New Guinea defeated Fiji with a convincing 3-0 victory and now leads Group B with three wins.

In the women's division, Tahiti defeated the Solomon Islands in three sets and secured the top spot. A different reality for the hosts who failed to secure victories in the tournament.

In Judo, Australia, Tahiti, and New Caledonia evenly shared the six gold medals contested, while in football, Fiji and Tahiti couldn't break the deadlock and drew 0-0, while the Cook Islands secured a close 3-2 victory against Tonga to claim their first win in Group A of the men's division. In the women's division, Tonga drew with Tahiti (2-2) at Lawson Tama. Meanwhile, Fiji defeated Vanuatu 3-2. This afternoon (3 pm local time), Fiji and the hosts face off to determine the group winner.