In the morning session, Vanuatu’s top judoka Joe Mahit defeated New Caledonia’s Jason Mahoux, to a rousing reception from the home fans.
In Round 1, tight hand grips exchanged on both competitors’ arms, leg locks, kicking of competitors’ legs, showing the great strengths and skill of these athletes.
At one point, the referee walked over to the technical officials to point out an issue before returning to continue.
The second round was again a display of great skill between the two competitors.
Mahit then comfortably pulled his opponent down but Mahoux managed to come out, so continued on with the third round.
Exchanging holds, both judokas battled through two more rounds. In the end Vanuatu took full advantage of a vulnerable position by New Caledonia when Mahit locked Mahoux down for 20 seconds to win the bout.
On the whole it was a test for the hometown hero who has much experience, having recently returned from judo tournaments abroad.
Mahit went on to win silver in the event, losing to Nauru’s Kip Kaierua in the gold medal match.
New Caledonia dominated the women’s events on day one, winning gold in every category.
Photo source Van2017