It was an emotional moment following the arrival of the Women and men’s volleyball national volleyball teams who returned Tuesday with a bronze medal after defeating Cook Islands in the Oceania women volleyball zonal championship.
A small crowd of family members were at the Honiara international terminal to welcome and greeted our women’s team who returned with a bronze medal for the first in regional games.
Among family members who were there to welcome back their women and men’s team was the President of the Volleyball Federation who also joint team members families to welcome and congratulated our national teams on their arrival.
It was a historic result for our women team and its the beginning of more to come.
On their arrival the teams boarded the Lion Heart truck to cheer along the highway from Henderson airport to Honiara City Council premises where the parade ended.
Upon the team arrival, the team manageress Vika Lusibaea told the media that it was an exciting moment to be part of such a small contingent to be competed in such regional competition.
“As a manageress I was satisfied with the result despite limited period of time to prepare them.
“I was asked by these girls to assist them to participate in the Oceania volleyball Zonal championship, without knowing much about the event, I stepped in to help them to participate.
“Actually my roles was to ensure they travel to participate in the event and more so to ensure that they are in the rightful mindset to compete against the best team in the region.
“So far, I was very impressed with my girls team. The team was a mixture of young and experience players who believed in themselves and that was the motivating factors that helped them to come out victorious against Cook Islands in the bronze medals final.”
The manageress said, competing against good team in the region was an added bonus for the girls in terms of experience.
“To win a bronze medal in such prestigious regional event is a huge relief and a big achievement for such a struggle team sport like this volleyball women team.
“My only suggestion is for these young girls to continue support them to expose and continue participating in such regional events.
“By doing so, they confident to compete in the upcoming regional events like Tonga Pacific Games 2019 and most importantly the 2023 Pacific Games that we will be hosting.
“We cant wait, though we are obliged to prepare good facilities for the Pacific games in 2023 it is equally important for us to also prepare our athletes to be competitive in 2023.
“That will be a nice feeling watching our athletes confidently compete well with our regional countries.”
As a manageress, Ms Lusibaea said she is a strong believer who strongly advocate for young people participating in such social activities like sports.
“Therefore I will continue support them as long as they need me in there upcoming regional events.”
Speaking to the media team captain Gaby Diau said she was very happy with the outcome of the game because this is the first time for the women indoor volleyball to win a bronze medal.
“Without these people and companies, I do not think we will achieved such result.
Therefore, I would like to acknowledge our team manageress Vika Lusibaea, Hon Jimmy lusibaea, Lion Heart Company, Hon. Namson Tran and Szetu Enterprises Ltd and the Solomon Islands Volleyball Federation.
“Without them we would not be able to compete and get this historic result.”
Men’s coach Thomas Tebaubau who also spoke to the media about the performance of the boys said, he was so impressed with the boys performance.
“They have performed extremely well during the tournament. They played so much matches that helped them to build up their confidence and playing ability. They are unpredictable players.
“To play against team like Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands especially New Zealand was a big step for the boys to play against best team in the region. “Its something that we valued and take away from this event. To beat Cook Islands is a nice feeling.
“To play against the winner of the Oceania which is New Zealand is a huge learning experience for the boys. When we played against New Zealand though we lost by 3 sets but the score board was satisfying like (22:25, 23:25, 23 :25).
“This has indicated that we are not too far from the regional standard. I think what important now as we prepare for Tonga 2019 Pacific Games and 2023 Pacific games, we continue participating at regional games and organising more local and school competitions and up skilling our coaches.”
President of the federation, Morrish Maitaki has expressed thanks to the team and congratulated them.
‘Thank you very much and congratulation, team manageress, coaches, captain and most importantly players.
“This is another milestone in the history of our sport. I’m so proud of you all. As much as we are trying to promote volleyball as a leading family sport in Solomon Islands, this has comes a surprise for my executive to win the bronze medal in the Oceania event.
“In the pacific Games in PNG 2015, our women team was ranked 6th after being defeated by Fiji on the placing match for 5 & 6 positions.
In May 2016 at the Oceania Volleyball Championship held in Suva, Fiji, our women team was ranked 5th Against Samoa.
“In this Oceania Zonal Championship, our girls now ranked 3rd (bronze). This is an exciting moment for our sport and I would like to thank everyone who are involved in this success.
“I would like to acknowledge you on behave of our volleyball executive for such a remarkable achievement.
“First of all, I would like to thank Mrs Lusibaea for your leadership and commitment in guiding our girls to be victories.
“This is an achievement that will motivate us to keep striving as we are aiming to win the gold medal in the 2023 Pacific Games.
“Its a legacy that you bestowed on us to ensure we move up from where you leave today.
“I would like to thank Hon Jimmy lusibaea, Lion Heart Company, Hon. Namson Tran and Szetu Enterprises Ltd, Ela Motor and POB bank, Isabel Province, Mr. Sens Matai and Mrs Sikwata Matai ( men’s manageress), Fiji volleyball and Organising Committee and James Summers (OZVA Event Manager) for all your assistance one way or the other that helped our men and women teams to successfully participated at the Oceania Volleyball Championship.
“The Solomon Islands Volleyball federation deeply acknowledged your commitment and generous assistance rendered towards volleyball development.
“I would like to also thank the player’s families for their moral and financial support given to the players through out their training times and allowing them to going overseas to represent the country.”
A closing function is being organised by Mrs Vika Lusibaea and team members this coming Sunday 6th Oct 2016 at Lela beach to conclude the tour.
All team members, players, SIVF executive members and players’ families are welcome to attend.
Details of the program will be conveyed through individual cell phones.