Maldives' national female table tennis team, on Sunday, secured an impressive gold medal finish against Mauritius at the Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) 2019.
The win is a historic first for the country in a team category.
Marking the first instance of achieving a top placement finish in a team event at an international multi-sport competition, Maldives won three out of the five games played against the neighbouring country, with Aishath Rafa Nazim bringing home the all-important tiebreaker.
In addition to Rafa, representing Maldives were Fathimath Dheema Ali, Mueena Mohamed and Jumana Nimal.
Game 1: Dheema - 1 / Mauritius - 3
Game 2: Rafa - 3 / Mauritius - 2
Game 3: Mueena - 0 / Mauritius - 3
Game 4: Dheema - 3 / Mauritius - 1
Game 5: Rafa - 3 / Mauritius - 1
This is the second gold medal achievement for Maldives at an international event, and the first since Hussain Saaid's gold at IOIG 2015 in the men's 100-meter sprint.
Despite being the second international competition the country has competed in, the IOIG games are widely recognized as the starting point of the country's success in sports.
In order to achieve the target of acquiring 15 medals this year, Maldives Olympic Association, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, and various sports associations together facilitated special training for the teams.
The government has also thrown its hat into the ring for the opportunity to host the 2023 Indian Ocean Island Games games. Currently, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ahmed Mahloof and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid are touring the Indian Ocean as a Special Envoy of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, seeking support for the Maldives' bid.