New Caledonia takes six golds in day one of judo

New Caledonia took half the 12 gold medals on offer during day one of judo at Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games.

They scooped six medals. The remaining medals were split between Fiji (3), Tahiti (2) and Guam (1). See results on the judo sports page.

Rauhiti Vernaudon of Tahiti won gold in the senior women's +78kg category, defeating Fiji's Elizabeth Valentine.

Vernaudon said: "I'm very happy, I'm happy to get back the medal in my country."

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She lives in France where she is studying sport, and manages to train every day. Now 21, she has been learning judo since she was eight years ago. She has competed in tournaments every fortnight leading up to her appearance in Apia. 

Her team mate Romain Desfour also won gold, in the senior men's under 100kg category against New Caledonia's Claude Cretin. 

Desfour started judo at 3 years old because "my mum wanted to get me out of the house."

"I'm very proud because the Pacific Games is very important to us, I'm very proud of that."

He said he was hopeful that one day he and his team will make it to the Olympics.