The 75-strong Australian Team for the Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Game has been finalised with today’s selection of eight Taekwondo athletes by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), just under one month out from the Opening Ceremony on 19 November.
Tokyo Olympians Stacey Hymer and Reba Stewart bring extensive experience to the team, joining Juliet Lahood, Rebecca Murray, Ben Camua, Matthew Summerfield, Liam Sweeney and Tyrone Staben to compete for Australia in Honiara.
Rebecca Murray and Reba Stewart both return for their second Pacific Games, after winning gold at Samoa 2019, while 18-year-old Matthew Summerfield will make his Pacific Games debut, after breaking a 14-year drought last year in securing Australia’s first medal at a World Junior Championships since 2008.
The Australian team will compete in eight sports, joining almost 5000 athletes from 24 nations contesting 24 sports in the Solomon Islands’ capital.
Chef de Mission for the Australian Team at the Pacific Games Kenny Wallace welcomed today’s announcement.
“Congratulations to the eight Taekwondo athletes who have been selected to compete in Honiara,” Mr Wallace said.
“Australia has performed brilliantly in Taekwondo events at previous Pacific Games and I look forward to seeing the team in action in Honiara.
“With returning Pacific Games team members and Tokyo Olympians, the team will bring a wealth of experience that will contribute to the wider Australian Team culture. Congratulations to the athletes and the whole team at Australian Taekwondo on reaching today’s milestone.
“I am thrilled to see this team of 75 Australian athletes finalised. Wearing the green and gold at international competition is a rare honour, and I know each will represent their country, their sport, families and supporters with pride.
Tokyo 2020 Olympian Stacey Hymer, fresh off winning gold at the National titles last weekend, said she was thrilled to represent Australia in Honiara.
“Being selected to represent Australia is such a great recognition and reward for all the training and determination to make it to this competition,” Hymer said.
“As an athlete I feel so honoured to represent Australia in the Pacific Games and will wear the green and gold uniform with pride.
“I’m looking forward to making connections with other athletes and learning the culture of our Pacific neighbours.”
Australian Taekwondo CEO Heather Garriock congratulated the athletes on their selection.
"We're really pleased to see taekwondo included on the schedule for the Pacific Games in 2023 and extend our congratulations to every athlete who has earned a place on the Australian team,” Garriock said.
"Our taekwondo athletes have notched up remarkable achievements on the world stage this year, heightening the excitement for the upcoming Pacific Games in November."
Australia will compete in Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Beach Volleyball, Judo, Sailing, Taekwondo and Weightlifting. The 2023 Pacific Games offer a direct Paris 2024 qualification opportunity for boxers and the mixed archery team, as well as world ranking points vital for qualification and international experience across other sports.
The team includes eight athletes who have competed at an Olympic Games. The average age of the team is 21.8, with the oldest 34 and youngest 16.
The Pacific Games will see more than 5000 athletes and officials from 24 nations compete across 24 sports in Solomon Islands capital Honiara from 19 November to 2 December.
Solomons 2023 is the third time Australia has participated after first being invited to compete in several sports at Port Moresby 2015.