26 Apr 2023

Sports news in brief for April 26

12:59 pm on 26 April 2023
Defending champs Tonga Tala (red) thrash Singapore 85-40 to open their account on the Gold Coast.

Defending champs Tonga Tala (red) thrash Singapore 85-40 to open their account on the Gold Coast. Photo: Netball Australia

Netball tournament

Tonga continues its march in the PacificAus Netball Series in Queensland, Australia after thrashing Kenya 71-44 in their second match last night.

Samoa is also two from two in Pool A after they defeated Fiji 64-55 at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre.

Having won their first match against Singapore on Monday, the Tongan Tala kept the momentum going in their first-ever match up against the Kenyans. They led 34-22 at half-time.

Goalshooter Unique Palavi, who dominated the two series last year, proved to be a challenge for Kenya as she scored almost at will in the tough clash.

Tonga Netball CEO Salote Sisifa said the team continues to perform and enjoyed support from local Tongan fans.

Fans turned up in numbers to cheer the side on last night and Salote says the team and its management are grateful for the support.

She said the challenge of keeping the series title won last year continues tonight (Wednesday) against Zambia, who defeated Singapore 61-44.

Papua New Guinea which lost to Samoa on Monday night, suffered their second loss going down 64-49 to Malawi last night.

World Netball's latest rankings has Malawi at No.6, a place above Tonga, with Zambia, Samoa and Fiji at 16th, 18th and 19th respectively.

Fiji - archery

Chaandvi Prasad, a recently graduated doctor, was the lone female archer to travel with three other Fijian male athletes to a Oceania tournament held in Australia last week.

World Archery Fiji coach George Fong said Prasad set a personal best of 474, and then smashed that with a score of 524.

Working as a doctor at the Labasa Divisional Hospital, Fong said Prasad had not had access to proper training, but performed well at the championships.

"She currently is only able to shoot 30 metres in Labasa, much shorter than the competition distance of 70 metres," he said.

"Despite her demanding work schedule and inability to access a proper shooting range, she was still able to set a PB that was well above our Pacific Games qualifying standard and has now met the qualification criteria for the 2023 Pacific Games.

"The (other) athletes performed well, with all the recurve archers setting new competition PBs."

Nathan Kirk, Rajiv Solanki and Mark Chipongian were the three other archers who accompanied Prasad to Australia.

Fiji is looking to send a team of nine athletes to the Pacific Games later this year.

Football - club series

Two international friendly club football matches have been rescheduled due to flight issues.

The Solomon Islands Football Associations says, due to unavailable spaces on a flight for 10 players, Hekari United failed to travel from Papua New Guinea.

The pair of games with Solomon Warriors will now take place at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara on Wednesday and Saturday.

That has also delayed the start of the Telekom S-League 2023 season round one which has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 30.

Drua - returning players

Fijian Drua will return to full strength this week with the return of key players against the Blues in Saturday's Super Rugby Pacific in Lautoka.

Coming off the injury list are Captain Meli Derenalagi, winger Eroni Sau and halfback Frank Lomani.

Head coach Mick Byrne said it is positive to have the key players back.

"Dume (Derenalagi) is back at training, Eroni is also back at training," Byrne confirmed.

"Frank is in a red bib, but he's got through all the contact which is great."

Byrne said he expects to bring fresh players back into the line-up.

"Kalaveti and Iosefo have been rested well for the last two weeks and are ready to come back."

"Players are itching for a spot at training and we will see how we do."