Nov 21, 2023

Men’s Tennis team claim their first gold in Pacific Games; weightlifting adds two bronze medals

Tuesday, November 21,2023 – Honiara, Solomon Islands

Team Guam Tennis did the unthinkable!  The unranked men’s team beat the top three seeded teams in the 17th edition of the Pacific Games on their way to claiming Guam’s first ever gold medal in team competition in the history of the Games.

Danny Llarenas fell 2-5early in the match to Tahiti's Heimanariu Lai San, then bounced back to win the next three games to knot it up at five all.  Llarenas battled through the heat to take a 6-5 lead, however, Tahiti took the next game to go into a tiebreaker.   Both athletes were embroiled in a back-to-back battle.  With the score notched at seven apiece, Llarenas found an opening as he took advantage of consecutive lobs to end the match with slams on a 7-9 set.  Thereafter, Llarenas broke a 2-2 tie in the second set to cruise to a two-set victory and give Team Guam a 1-0 advantage winning the match 6-2.

Camden Camacho got off to a sizzling start blitzing the top seed Tahitian Heve Kelley 6-0 in the first set.  Kelley stormed back from a 0-1 deficit to trounce Camacho in the second set winning the next four games before taking the next two sets 2-6. 6-0, eventually winning the match to force a tie breaker in the doubles event.
Llarenas returned to the court with Mason Caldwell against Reynald Taaroa and Antoine Voisin in the doubles match to decide the gold medalists.  The Guam duo prevailed in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to win Guam's fourth gold medal of the Games.

"I love that we can share this opportunity together. Mason stepped up tremendously.  This was Torgun Smith's vision15 years ago and we are so happy to be able to accomplish this feat." said Llarenas.  The team also extended their gratitude to their coach ChristianEmil Penafiel.

The men's team beat all three top seeded teams,including 2nd seed Papua New Guinea in the quarterfinals, 3rd seed Fiji in the semifinalsand top seed Tahiti in the finals in route to their maiden Team gold medal ofthe Pacific Games.

Guam's fourth gold medal was accompanied by twobronze medals hauled in by weightlifting's Jacinta Sumagaysay in Maranatha wherethe weightlifting event is held. Sumagaysay finished third in the 64kg women’s category snatching 73kgfor the bronze and 168kg total for her second bronze medal.  

In swimming action, two Guam swimmers qualified for the evening finals. Israel Poppe finished the finals in the 200m Freestyle Individual Medley in 5th place while Mia Lee also finished in 5th place in the women’s 50m backstroke event.

The men’s basketball team took the top post of the Games with a win over the host Solomon Islands87-53.  As the top seeded team, they will have two days off in preparation for their semi-final match on Friday, November24, 2023.