The Solomon Islands national Hockey 5s men’s squad secured fourth place in the recent 2023 Hockey 5s Oceania Cup held in Gold Coast, Australia. This marks their first-time participation in an international tournament of this nature, and their return to the country is being celebrated as a boost to their experience.
Esmie Belo, the head coach of the Solomon Islands national Hockey women’s team, expressed her satisfaction with the exposure and experience gained by both the men’s and women’s teams during their time abroad. Competing against formidable opponents like Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia, who are hockey powerhouses in Oceania, the teams performed admirably. Belo emphasized the need to further develop skills and technical aspects upon their return, acknowledging the support and privilege provided by the government and the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sport (SINIS). This exposure sets them up well for the upcoming XVII Pacific Games.
Allen Temoa, a forward and midfielder for the men’s Hockey team, also highlighted the significance of this first-time overseas experience for the players. He expressed gratitude towards SINIS for their preparations in areas such as general fitness and mental resilience. Temoa acknowledged the need to focus on improving skills, noting the difference in playing on a professional Hockey 5s pitch compared to their current grass training field. The men’s team now looks forward to intense preparations for the upcoming XVII Pacific Games, with the aim of achieving even greater success in their sport.
Amanda Korinihona, the Performance Manager for Team Sports at SINIS, commended the commitment of the Hockey teams to the provided programs, stating that it has undoubtedly prepared them for a competitive environment at an elite level. Korinihona expressed pride in the teams’ recent performance and eagerly anticipates their review session on July 19.
The Hockey 5s Oceania Cup 2023 concluded on the Gold Coast, with Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji securing the gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively, in both the men’s and women’s competitions. These teams have also qualified for the inaugural FIH Hockey 5s World Cup in Oman in 2024.
The Solomon Islands Hockey 5s men’s team played six matches against Tonga, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Vanuatu, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. They won three matches and lost three, ultimately securing a spot in the semifinals against Australia. Despite a 6-1 loss to Fiji in the losers final, their outstanding performance throughout the tournament earned them a commendable fourth-place finish.
The Solomon Islands Hockey 5s women’s team also competed against Tonga, PNG, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia, ultimately settling for sixth place in the tournament.