Fiji’s Women Judo Champ Mirror Father’s Gold Medal Moves 

About the author:

Tina Mata'afa-Tufele is a Pasifika journalist that has been writing and covering news related to the Samoan experience for over a decade. She's written for Samoa News in American Samoa, Tuatalatala.com (covering news from Hawaii, the U.S.

  • Fijian gold medalist Shanice Takayawa
    Fijian gold medalist Shanice Takayawa

Fijian gold medalist Shanice Takayawa, 21,  thanked Almighty God and her family after defeating contenders from judo-crazed nations Tahiti to become the Women's Heavyweight Judo Champion of the XVI Pacific Games.

It was a dream come true for Takayawa who told Newsline Samoa she was inspired to win a gold in judo by her father.

"First I want to thank God Almighty for this win. And my family and friends, my coach, teammates and  managers who got us this far. There are so many people to thank," she said.

"This was my very first time. When I was on the podium, I just remembered in 2003 my Dad won two gold medals in the Open Weight and I remember saying one day I'd like to win that medal like my Dad did."

She said the Tahitians were "really good."

"Whoa! It was tough!," she said of the competition.

"The Tahitians were really good. A tough country to beat. They are really tough. I thank my opponents too, for the fight. It was a good fight," said Takayawa.

She began judo in primary school and has been training for more than 10 years. Her parents traveled to Samoa to support her

On Takayawa's way to the gold, she won fout fights. She first beat Samoa, then an opponent from Fiji and finally, one from Tahiti for the gold.

"I thank my coach Nemani Takayawa. I was just listening to him and his instructions while I was fighting. He helped me with my fights, in gripping and all that," Takayawa told Newsline.

"I might go for the world championships next but I'm not sure about that. I will just trust the Lord  for what He will provide next for my parents, my family and my team as well."