26 Jul 2021

Tokyo 2020 Day Three: Pacific Athletes - Who to watch and when

3:55 pm on 26 July 2021
The Fiji men's sevens team train in Oita.

The Fiji men's sevens team train in Oita. Photo: Fiji Rugby

Day three of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics looks to be a big one for Pacific athletes as former World Rugby Sevens champions Fiji kick off today's games in their first pool match against host team, Japan.

Rugby Sevens (Men's)

Reigning gold medalists Fiji survived some tense moments in their first match against Japan today to claim a 24-19 victory in the opening game of the rugby sevens at the Tokyo Olympics.

Fiji put pressure on Japan right from kick-off with a lose ball giving the Fijians the perfect opportunity to score within the first 20 seconds and an early 7-0 lead.

Japan striked back shortly after, capitalising off Fiji's handling errors to even the score.

Japan had the advantage at halftime scoring before the hooter, and were first to score in the second half to get up 19-12.

But a mistake from Japan made it easy for Fiji to even the score 19 all. They added one more off the back of some quick footwork to win 24-19 at fulll-time.

Fiji will play their second match against Canada tonight at 8pm NZ time.

Next game: Fiji v Canada- 8:00pm


Samoan sailor Eroni Leilua racing at the World Laser Championships in Melbourne.

Samoan sailor Eroni Leilua racing at the World Laser Championships in Melbourne. Photo: © Jon West Photography

Men's Radial Laser event, 3:05pm (PNG and Samoa)

Teariki Numa of Papua New Guinea and Eroni Leilua of Samoa join sailors from around the world taking to the waters for the third and fourth races of the Sailing - Men's Radial Laser event.

It's been 28 years since PNG have been seen sailing at the Olympics - a record held by Te Ariki Numa's father, Graham Numa, who represented the nation in windsurfing at Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992.

Te Ariki Numa said the Olympic dream was a family affair but it was one that he owed to his dad.

"My dad set this goal so high for me and he set the bar so high and now I've hit that bar I'm just so happy to get over that bar now and I think it's just the greatest feeling ever, especially making it to the Olympics and adding to my dads record of going to the Olympics twice," Numa told RNZ Pacific in 2020.

Eroni Leilua is the first Samoan sailor to qualify for the Olympics but hopes he will not be the last.

Leilua spoke with RNZ Pacific last year about financial barriers preventing more Pacific sailors from pursuing the sport.

He hopes to encourage other Pacific sailors and athletes to chase their dreams regardless of their financial situation.

"I want to make sure that the up and coming sailors in Samoa and around the Pacific understand that there are opportunities to pursue the sport further."

The event is scheduled to start 3:05pm.

Sister Rose-Lee and brother Te Ariki Numa both qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Sister Rose-Lee and brother Te Ariki Numa both qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Photo: Facebook / Te Ariki Numa

Women's Radial Laser Event:

Fellow Papua sailor and also sister of Teariki, Rose-Lee Numa joins Sophia Morgan of Fiji and other sailors for race three and four of the Sailing Women's Radial Laser Event.

To participate in the Olympic Games is the dream of every athlete around the world, Morgan told the Fiji Sun who realises this dream at the age of 17.

Their event is scheduled to start 5:35pm.


Women 67kg - Round of 16, 4:30pm

Tonga's rising star Malia Paseka makes history today as the Kingdom's first female athlete to compete in Taekwondo.

When interviewed by Champions of the Pacific Paseka said, "I'm hoping to bring home some medals for Tonga, but at the end of the day it's not all about winning and losing.

For me to be here, to be representing my country, to be part of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, it's really an honour and there's only a few who get this opportunity and so I'm very blessed," she said.

Paseka's Round of 16 match is scheduled to take place at 4:30pm against Great Britain's Lauren Williams.


Women's 55kg, Group B, 4:50pm.

Solomon Islands' weightlifting champion Mary Kini Lifu, hopes to repeat her success in Tokyo as she did at the 2019 Pacific Games held in Apia, Samoa where she claimed gold by lifting a total of 162kg in the Women's 55kg division.

Lifu today will lift against athletes from Chinese Taipei, Canada, Poland and Japan in Group B, scheduled to start 4:50pm.