Sport: PNG on top but Franchophones dominate in pool

9:04 am on 7 July 2015

A handful of teams are bunched at the top the medals table after four days of competition at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby.

Tonga swimmer Amini Fonua claims swimming gold at the Pacific Games.

Tonga swimmer Amini Fonua claims swimming gold at the Pacific Games. Photo: Vinnie Wylie

Tahiti and New Caledonia were dominant in the water yesterday, while Tonga and Micronesia were among the countries to win their first events of the Games.

Local favourite Ryan Pini defended his 50m backstroke title in front of a passionate Papua New Guinea crowd in the first swimming final at the Taurama Aquatic Centre.

The 33 year old defended his 50m backstroke title in the first swimming final last night at the Taurama Aquatic Centre and also helped PNG win bronze in the 100m freestyle relay.

He returned to the pool two years ago so he could compete in Port Moresby and said to win at home was special.

"I moved back up here to Papua New Guinea and we didn't have a 50m pool until about a month ago so it's been a real challenge but definitely worthwhile when all my fans can come out and see what I do best," he said.

The 33 year old also helped PNG win bronze in the 100m freestyle relay, with all three medallists finishing under the Games record.

New Caledonia and Tahiti won three events each in the pool while Tonga's Amini Fonua set a new Games record in the men's 100m breaststroke.

The 25 year old touched home in 1.02.95, shaving almost two seconds off the mark set four years ago in Noumea.

The win was Tonga's first gold medal of the 2015 Games and Fonua admits he's still trying to work out where the extra oomph came from.

"I haven't been that fast in years - I just got back to the water about two months ago so to do that was really unexpected but awesome," he said.

In other results, Tahiti's stranglehold in Va'a was briefly interrupted by New Caledonia in the men's 1500m race, while the French Territories also had success in table tennis.

Jenly Wini from Solomon Islands and Micronesia's Manuel Minginfel won their country's first gold medals of the Games in weightlifting, while lifters from Australia and Fiji also added to their growing medal haul.

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