Quotes of the Games

From the inspiring to the entertaining, a round-up of the best quotes from athletes and officials at the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games as reported by the Pacific Games News Service:


“The prime minister’s decision reaffirms his plea to Samoa’s young athletes to take advantage of the Pacific Games as leverage to their beginning sports career." - Samoa Archery President Muaausa Joseph Walters responds to the decision of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi to withdraw from the archery bronze medal mixed doubles event to allow his teenage teammate to compete


“Shoes and other gear are only there to help us be more comfortable when running, but they are not the reason why we win. Our talent, determination and hard work are the reason why we win.”- Vanuatu’s Margaret Kuras, who won gold in the women’s half marathon running in socks, but no shoes, urges other Pacific island runners to ditch the shoes if they prefer not to wear them

“I usually rest a lot, make sure I’m hydrated, and have a cheeky dessert like a carrot cake or something the night before a race, which helps calm me down.” - Cook Islands’ 1500m gold medalist Alex Beddoes reveals his pre-race routine

“My message to people with visual impairments is to push past their limits, and to rise up with courage, determination and strength.” – New Caledonia’s Bova Sylvain after winning gold with his guide in the men’s 100m ambulant para sprint

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Pacific Games News Service reporters interviewed hundreds of athletes over the course of the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games (Credit: Pacific Games News Service)

“Everybody wants a photo because they want a piece of the victory, so I’m just trying to give everybody a good memory to go home with. It's worth giving time back to the people who have supported us all week." - The fastest man in the Pacific, Fiji’s Banuve Tabakaucoro, after winning his third gold of the Games in men's 4x100m relay

“I’m just having the best time here in Samoa. Everyone is so humble and kind...and that takes away the feeling of competition and people just want to have fun.” - Australia’s Brianna Beahan, who enjoyed Samoa for reasons other than winning gold and setting a new Pacific Games record in the women's 100m hurdles

"I was born and raised in New Zealand, but I’ve always been Samoan. Samoa has always been my heart, and to come back home and win a medal for Samoa means the world to me." - Samoa’s Nathaniel Sulupo, who won bronze in the men's discus, reflects on the joy of returning home

"I always tell young women that when you put your mind and heart into something you want to achieve then you can achieve it. Just work hard and be committed.” - PNG's 'sprint queen' Toea Wisil after winning gold in the women's 400m, one of three titles she defended at Samoa 2019 

"Deep down I want to say sorry, I really do apologise. But, outwardly, I want to say thank you for all the support. It has been amazing." - Samoa's Jeremy Dodson apologises to the people of Samoa after 'only' winning silver in the men's 100m


"In badminton, we're all just one family, despite our different cultures and countries. I think it's a Pacific thing, showing warmth and support." - Fiji's Danielle Whiteside after an emotional victory in the women's singles bronze medal match

“They will go home and tell this story to their friends across Tonga, of what badminton has given them, to travel, to play here and to experience life through badminton. I know that this experience has set it in their mind that, one day, badminton will be a career for them.” - Tonga badminton coach MaryJane Sifa on the impact the Games has had on her young team


“I wish my kids were here so that they could see me win this gold medal.” - Vanuatu women's beach volleyball gold medalist Miller Pata, who famously carried her seven-month-old son, Tommy, onto the podium when she won bronze at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games


“This sport needs more girls.” - New Caledonia’s Mahina Charlot who won silver in the women’s flyweight 48-51kg division at the Samoa 2019 boxing on Savai'i

"I was usually getting picked on at school, so my parents took me to boxing classes. I was a chubby boy and kids usually made fun of me. I started competing at 12 and look at me now, I'm here at the Pacific Games at the age of 22." - Niue's Bravely Mata'u on how boxing changed his life


“People that we don’t know and have never met have put their hands up to donate to the online campaign, and that is part of the reason why we are here at the Pacific Games and have won bronze.” - Vanuatu women's cricket player Melissa Fare on how a crowdfunding campaign led her team to medal glory at Samoa 2019

“Winning this gold medal in our home country is a dream come true.  I want to leave a legacy for all the girls here in Samoa, and encourage them to continue playing cricket.” - Samoa women's cricket player Langi Telea on the impact she hopes her team's gold medal will have


"Prayer is a powerful tool behind every win." - PNG women's football team manager Eunice Rooseje Suwae after her team defeated Cook Islands 5-1 to reach the gold medal match, in which they went on to beat Samoa

"It makes me feel proud to be a part of the Pacific region where this third gender is accepted, encouraged and celebrated." - American Samoa's Jaiyah Saelua, who in 2011 became the first transgender footballer to play in a FIFA men’s world cup qualifying match, made a comeback at Samoa 2019


“'One in Spirit' means united we stand, divided we fall. We have been united throughout this event. We love the people of Samoa. Samoa, thank you so much." Fiji’s golf team manager, James Krishna, reflects on the Games' slogan after his team won bronze in the men's team event

"My motto in life is to make everyone I love proud of me, and also to be the best." - New Caledonia's Dylan Benoit, whose hard work paid off as he took home gold from Samoa 2019


“I’m 32 and I just started this sport at 31 years old, and never in my entire life did I ever imagine this is where I would be. It’s a really surreal feeling and there are not enough words in my vocabulary to describe how honoured and proud I feel.” - Guam’s Amy Cho never imagined she would be a Pacific Games bronze medal finalist when she took up the sport a year ago


"We play on a teeny, weeny little club on a teeny, weeny little island, with a green that I mow twice a week that has a dip in it." - Former New Zealand high commissioner to Niue, Mark Blumsky, won bronze for his adopted home at Samoa 2019, and is also responsible for the upkeep of Niue's lawn bowls club


“This is great for Cook Islands netball. Last time we were in a gold medal match was 1991. We have a huge support base, both here and at home.” - Cook Islands netball coach Suzanne Evans after her team reached the gold medal match against Tonga, which they went on to win 

“We just wanted to play. We put a team together in May, but were unable to register two players from America. Our 65-year-old netball president has pulled on a uniform.” - American Samoa netball team manager Ana Atoa on the lengths her team went to to compete at Samoa 2019


"I'm so happy and I can't wait to get home to show my family this medal because they are the ones that made this possible." - PNG’s Belinda Umang after winning gold in the 57kg division on a day where powerlifting medals flowed for her nation


“Coaching is not about being a female or a male. Times have changed and so have our coaching styles. It's about empowering the players to do things on the field because, at the end of the day, for me as a coach I am not the one that is playing, they are.” - Fiji's Elenoa Kunatuba broke new ground as a woman coaching men's rugby 7s at Samoa 2019


“It’s a special moment for all the young kids back at home. Being raised with nothing they can come here and look up to the ones playing today. I guess it’s just a stepping stone for us women to set that platform to go back home and develop the sport.” - Cook Islands captain Kimora Nati on the importance of the new Pacific Games women's rugby league 9s event that was introduced at Samoa 2019

“The feeling of winning silver is not really good, but it’s an achievement because it’s the first of its kind to win silver in the first women’s rugby league 9s event." - PNG women's captain Janet Johns reflects on being part of history, despite losing the gold medal match to Fiji 


“(My biggest challenge) is my cerebral palsy, because my brain sometimes forgets to tell my body that it has cerebral palsy. When I’m sailing, I have to overcome my limitations, looking for the wind, looking for the waves, looking at the boats, sailing fast and at the same time trying not to fall out." - Samoa’s Jordan Milroy on the challenges of competing in the para sailing events that ran alongside Samoa 2019


“Give it a try, never give up and train as hard as you can and be prepared as well as you possibly can be." - Lord Fatafehi Kinikinilau Lolomanaia Fakafanua, the current Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga who competed at Samoa 2019, gives advice to the younger generation who might want to pursue shooting as a sport

“Don’t skip school. Train hard and passionately.” - Samoa's 19-year-old shooter Franco Junior Caffarelli, who won gold at Samoa 2019 but only after a law change allowed people aged under 21 to operate a firearm, warns fellow young athletes to prioritise their education


“We’re aggressive…with a structured playing and cowboy style." - Samoan squash player Lucy Thompson, who celebrated her 49th birthday at Samoa 2019 by going through to the women’s doubles semifinals


“This by far exceeds my expectations. I am here to support my swimmers and do everything to help them, and for them to come out on top is just the icing on the cake." - Samoa's swimming coach, Suzie Schuster, after her team achieved a surprising medal haul at Samoa 2019

“I really feel great breaking the record. For four years, I have been trying to break the record, that was my aim and I broke it. I am just full of happiness right now.” - Fiji's Taichi Vakasama after setting a new time in the men's 100m breaststroke on his way to gold


"As the saying goes, ‘you have to be the change you want to see’. So if I want to see a lot of women in wheelchairs playing table tennis, I’ve got to be the one participating and at the same time advocating, talking to the players here about getting more women in wheelchairs in to participate.” - Fiji's para table tennis gold medalist Mere Roden on the need to recruit more players to the sport, even if it will harm her own medal chances


"I’m here to defend my title, but I couldn’t. Seeing the time run out, I couldn’t hold back my tears. I’m extremely disappointed but there is always a winner and a loser, so it’s ok.” - PNG's Bobby Willie after losing 47-46 in the men's 54kg gold medal final to Australia's Mackenzie Singleton

“They have to believe that they’re doing it for something bigger than themselves, and they have to believe that within them is the potential to achieve what they say they’re going to achieve. So for any of the aspiring athletes – say it and feel it. And then it’ll come.” - Tonga's most famous Olympian, Pita Taufatofua, shares some advice for young Pacific athletes while attending Samoa 2019 ahead of his next Olympic qualification mission


“We share a room so there’ll still be gold medal in my room.” - PNG's Patricia Apisah will be eyeing her sister Violet's gong after losing the women's doubles gold medal match to Violet and her aunt, Abigail, in an all-family affair

“It is better to aim high and miss than to aim low and hit." - Northern Mariana Islands' tennis star Colin Sinclair reveals his mantra after his team won two surprise gold medals at Samoa 2019 


“Touch rugby is not a common sport back home. Not many people in the Solomon Islands are interested in touch or even know what it is. In our team the majority are married people with families and are not very athletic, but they expressed interest in the sport and have really enjoyed it." - Solomon Islands mixed touch captain Simon Tepuke hopes his country's hosting of the next Pacific Games will grow interest in touch


"My time is not a good time, but who cares? I got a gold medal, that's all you need to know." - Tahiti's Benjamin Zorgnotti notes that the result is all that matters when medals are at stake after winning the men's triathlon


"It's lovely, I've been waiting for ages and now I've got a bronze medal and a ring." - Cook Islands women's va'a team captain Emilene Taulu after her partner and men's team coach, Tupaga Amo, proposed to her at her Samoa 2019 medal ceremony


"I'll just be happy and enjoy the Games...because our island is a little island, and we are all very happy to show the world where Wallis and Futuna is." - Wallis and Futuna men’s volleyball captain Tuifua Glenn says the Pacific Games is as much about putting his nation on the map as defending their gold medal


"I'm crying because this is the first time that I have experienced this type of feeling, my first time representing Samoa and winning gold for my nation at just 17 years old. I would like to thank my coach, parents and teammates for the support and the whole nation for their prayers."- Samoan weightlifter Leotina Petelo was overwhelmed to win seven gold medals to significantly boost the host nation's medal haul at Samoa 2019