New Caledonia celebrates gold clean sweep in karate

Team New Caledonia won gold in all its karate events on day six of the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu.

New Caledonia claimed the spoils in the Female Team Kata, Female Team Kumite, Male Team Kata, Male Open Kumite and the Male Team Kumite events.

New Caledonia’s Iwe ReneHmana defeated Nigel Bana from Papua New Guinea to win gold in the Male Open Kumite, leaving Bana withsilver.

In the Male Team Kata event, New Caledonia won gold and Vanuatu picked up silver. New Caledonia also beat Vanuatu in the Male Team Kumite. Vanuatu claimed silver and Papua New Guinea bronze.

In the Female Team Kata and the Female Team Kumite, New Caledonia dominated both eventsto scoop gold, leaving Vanuatu to settle for silver again.

New Caledonia’s Kevin Pognon said the team was very satisfied with their collective results.

“It was a good fight in Vanuatu and the Vanuatu fighters are very good too. We are happy to fight here,” Pognon said.

Tumu Lango from Team Vanuatu said: “We gave our best performance even though we have only been training here in Vanuatu. They (New Caledonia) have an advantage because they have an international coach and support from international fighters, especially from the World Championships, and they have more experience than us.

“But today I think we scared them a little bit. What I think we should improve is to get more exposure overseas,” Lango said.