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11th Indian Ocean Islands Games: Women’s volleyball final |04 September 2023

11th Indian Ocean Islands Games: Women’s volleyball final

SEYCHELLES WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL TEAM: Fourth gold medal in a row and sixth in seven consecutive finals played (Photo: Patrick Joubert)

Seychelles re-write history, upset hosts Madagascar for fourth consecutive title


The Seychelles’ women’s volleyball selection have once again affirmed their authority within the region, clinching a fourth Indian Ocean Islands Games gold medal, following a 3-2 victory over hosts Madagascar in the final yesterday at the Palais des Sports of Mahamasina in Antananarivo.

Yesterday’s final was also the fourth for seasoned player Marielle Bonne whose sideboard of silverware now displays four medals – three gold and one silver – one short of her mum Jerina Bonne who boasts five medals – three gold (1998, 2003 and 2015), one silver (2007) and a bronze (1991). Not only did Marielle Bonne pick up a third gold medal yesterday, teammates Maya Biong (2011, 2019 and 2023), Petra Richard (2015, 2019 and 2023), Manuella Monthy (2015, 2019 and 2023), Petrina Victor (2015, 2019 and 2023), and Cathrina Simon (2015, 2019 and 2023) all celebrated a hat-trick of wins but they have only played three finals.

Seychelles started their quest in 1998 in St Denis, Reunion during the fifth Games where the ladies won their first title, beating the hosts 3-2, before successfully defending their title at the sixth Games in 2003 in Mauritius, defeating Madagascar 3-0 in the final.

At the seventh Games in 2007 in Madagascar, Seychelles lost 2-3 in the in the final against Reunion, halting their march towards achieving a hat-trick of wins.

In 2011 on home soil during the eighth Games, Seychelles re-launched their campaign, going back to winning gold medal by avenging the 2007 defeat to Reunion with a 3-0 victory in the final in front of the home crowd.

At the ninth Games in Reunion in 2015, they defended their title, beating their Malagasy opponents making it two wins in a row, before successfully defending the title again to finally complete a hat-trick of wins at the 10th Games in Mauritius in 2019, after defeating Madagascar 3-2 in the final to enter the IOIG history books as the first ever country to achieve such a feat.

Drawn in group B, Seychelles played Maldives in their first match at the Ankatso Gymnasium and won 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-18), before defeating Mauritius 3-1 in their second game. The set scores were 27-25, 25-23, 21-25, and 25-19.

In the semifinal, Seychelles were up against Reunion who finished as runners-up in group A after losing to Madagascar.

Seychelles whitewashed the Reunion 3-0 (25-7, 25-21, 25-21) to reach their seventh consecutive Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) final.

In yesterday’s final, Seychelles started the match on a very high note, containing the Malagasies’ offences with a very effective block, while maintaining the lead all throughout. They led 9-4 before Madagascar cut it down to 13-12.

Seychelles then increased the tempo, stretching their lead from 15-14 to 22-14, before clinching the first set 25-16 for a 1-0 advantage.

In front of their home crowd, the Malagasies improved their games in the second set as they stayed close to Seychelles on score – 4-4, 8-8, 11-11, 14-14, 16-16 – before taking a 19-17 lead.

From then on, the hosts maintained their lead – 21-19, 23-20 – until Seychelles caught up with them to tie the score at 23-23.

Backed by their crowd, Madagascar scored two more points to conclude the second set 25-23, tying the match at 1-1.

With one set apiece, Madagascar came out strong in the third set, matching Seychelles on score – 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, 14-14, and 15-15 – before Seychelles took a 19-17 advantage, before making it 22-19.

Despite Madagascar’s strong fighting spirit, the Seychellois players maintained their composure to score three more points to win the set 25-21 for a 2-1 advantage.

In the fourth set, the Malagasies took the fight to Seychelles, matching our local selection on score – 5-5, 7-7 – until Seychelles took a 10-7 lead, only to see the Malagasies fight back to equalise at 10-10, then 12-12, 15-15, 17-17 and 19-19.

Madagascar then took a 23-21 lead, before Seychelles tied the score at 23-23. As they fought for every ball, Madagascar scored two more points to conclude the set 25-23, tying the match at 2-2 and sending it to a fifth and decider set.

In the fifth set, the Seychellois players, backed by a small but noisy crowd, took an 8-3 lead which was then extended to 10-6, before Madagascar closed it up to 13-11.

Smelling gold already, Seychelles managed to chip in two more points, concluding the set 15-11 to win the match 3-2 to ‘bring the gold medal home’.


Third gold medal with women’s selection for coach Julien Onezime


Yesterday’ gold medal was the third for coach Julien Onezime with the women’ selection at the IOIG, after winning his initial one on home soil in 2011.

At the ninth Games in Reunion in 2015, coach Onezime took charge of the men’s selection, before moving back with the women’s side for the 10th IOIG in 2019 in Mauritius where he won his second gold medal, which he successfully defended yesterday.

Commenting on the match, coach Onezime said they were aware of their high chances of winning, but did not take things lightly, since the Malagasies are much quicker and agile in offence, especially in the centre.

He added that he was expecting a few mistakes from the girls as it was a final against the host country in front of their own crowd, but he managed to keep them calm all throughout the match

The Seychelles head coach further noted that it is not easy to win a final at this level on either a 3-0 or 3-1 score, adding that he was satisfied with the 3-2 win which is normal at this stage of any competition.


Third IOIG gold medal for Marielle Bonne

Against Madagascar yesterday, it was Marielle Bonne’s fourth IOIG final and third gold medal.

Bonne made her first appearance in 2007 in at the seventh Games in Madagascar, losing in the final against Reunion to bring home a silver medal.

In 2011 on home soil, she won the gold, before defending it in Reunion in 2015.

In 2019 she was not part of the team as she was serving a ban imposed by the Seychelles Volleyball Federation (SVF).

In tears after yesterday’s final, Bonne did not have much to say, other than she was happy to have won the gold medal, especially after being absent at the previous Games and not being able to defend her title won at the ninth Games in 2015, due to her ban.

“Even if I was not there in 2019, I was supporting my fellow teammates, and today I am so happy to have defended the medal I won eight years ago,” said Bonne.


Five wins out five finals for Seychelles against Madagascar

Yesterday’s final against Madagascar was Seychelles’ fourth against the hosts out of the team have seven contested.

So far, the Seychelles team boasts a 100 percent winning record against the Malagasies.

Fifth Games in 1998 in Reunion – 3-2 against Reunion

Sixth Games in 2003 in Mauritius – 3-0 against Madagascar

Eighth Games in 2011 in Seychelles – 3-0 against Reunion

Ninth Games in 2015 Reunion – 3-1 against Madagascar

Tenth Games in 2019 Mauritius – 3-2 against Madagascar

Eleventh Games in 2023 in Madagascar – 3-2 against Madagascar


Roland Duval

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