Meriden girls have taken the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games by storm, hauling in six medals between them in the women’s tennis. The competition saw athletes from twenty-four nations compete across thirty-two sports.
Year 10 student, Penina Kamu, was a member of Team Samoa, the host nation, which ranked third in the medal tally overall. The games were a family affair for Year 12 student, Patricia Apisah, and Meriden alumna, Violet Apisah, as they represented Papua New Guinea, which ranked second overall.
The Meriden girls’ respective teams bettered the rest of the competition in the Women’s Team event and Samoa and Papua New Guinea faced off in the finals. The event was taken out by Patricia and Violet Apisah and their aunts, Abigail and Marcia Tere-Apisah, while Penina and her team nabbed silver.
Penina said this high-profile match gave her a taste for competing on the world stage.
“It was an honour to represent my country, especially as Samoa was the Games’ host nation,” she said.
“We played our best knowing that our family and friends would be supporting us there. It was an experience to remember and I can’t wait to play my next Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.”
Later, at the Women’s Doubles finals event, family ties didn’t stop the Apisah clan from playing a fierce match, when they represented Papua New Guinea from both ends of the court. The nation earned both gold and silver when Abigail Tere-Apisah, with niece Violet Apisah, defeated their sisters, respectively, Marcia Tere-Apisah and Patricia Apisah 6-0, 6-3.
Violet faced her aunt, Abigail, in the Women’s Singles final, coming away with silver against her more-experienced opponent.
Patricia, Year 12, said winning gold in the Teams event was a highlight, but getting on the court with the women in her family outstripped the excitement of earning the medal.
“I really enjoyed being with my friends and family in Samoa for the Games, particularly meeting up with my aunties, whom I haven’t seen since the last Pacific Games event, four years ago,” Patricia said.
“Our family bond is really helpful on the court and we work well together.”
Like Violet before them, both Patricia and Penina are supported by Meriden’s Olympus Program, which helps student-athletes balance their academic and sporting goals. Violet will soon join her aunts in the USA on a sporting scholarship at Texas Tech University.