Kelera Mudunavosa, 16, made history by securing Fiji’s first medal at the 2023 Pacific Games – a Silver- in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke—an achievement she humbly describes as a bonus.
For a debutant, Mudunavosa was impressive, shooting off the starting block, leading the pack with times of 36.04 in the first 50, 36.94 in the second 50, and 1.57.99 in the third 50. However, she was eventually overtaken by the experienced New Caledonian swimmer Lara Grangeon-De Villele, who claimed the Gold Medal with a final burst. Grangeon-De Villele’s times were 36.94, 1.17.75, and 1.58.50 over the same distance.
Hailing from Levuka in Lakeba with maternal ties to Volivoli in Nadroga, Mudunavosa set a personal best of 2:41.98 in her silver medal-winning performance, just seconds behind Grangeon, who clocked 2:38.61.
“I am truly honored to represent Fiji. I am grateful. However, my primary goal was to set a personal best in my event, and this is like a bonus for me,” Mudunavosa said. “I would like to thank my family for always believing in me and supporting me in my sport.”
Mudunavosa is set to compete in the 50m Breaststroke today and the 100m Breaststroke on Thursday, looking to stamp PBs.
This silver medal adds to Fiji’s tally of two medals on day four of the event. The second medal, a bronze, was secured in swimming by the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team comprising Anahira McCutcheon, Matelita Naisara, Rosemarie Rova, and Marseleima Moss, who clocked 4:10.74.
Fiji’s two-medal performance places them at 12th in the medal standings. New Caledonia leads with eight Gold, seven Silver, and eight Bronze, followed by the host nation, Solomon Islands, with five Gold, eight Silver, and four Bronze medals. Three of the host country’s Gold Medals, including the Games’ first medal, were from their flag bearer and accomplished weightlifter, Jenly Wini, who achieved a clean sweep of the Jerk, Clean and Jerk, and Total in the 55kg weight division.
In other medal events for Fiji, Elizabeth Chute finished sixth out of nine competitors in her 55kg division in Weightlifting, while Apakuki Wakanibua finished fifth in his Men’s 61kg division. In other games played yesterday, the men’s table tennis team lost to PNG 1-4. while the women’s table tennis team defeated Samoa 5-0. The men’s volleyball defeated Tuvalu 3-1 and will take on Papua New Guinea in their final pool game today. The women’s volleyball accounted for Samoa 3-1. In Basketball, the women’s team lost to Samoa by a point, 74-75, and will have to play off for a spot in the semifinals. They will take on the Cook Islands at 12 midday tomorrow in one of the qualifying finals matches for a semifinal placing.
Team Fiji will be competing in Archery, Basketball, Football, Rugby League 9s, Sailing, Swimming, Table Tennis, Volleyball and Weightlifting today.