Fireknife cham­pion uses past as mo­ti­va­tion

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - HOROSCOPES -

Falaniko Pe­nesa of Apia, Samoa, used his sec­ond-place fin­ish at last year’s World Fireknife Cham­pi­onship to fuel his ded­i­ca­tion to re­turn for this year’s event, where he bested five-time cham­pion Mikaele Oloa of Wa­ialua last week­end at the Poly­ne­sian Cul­tural Cen­ter.

Oloa, 27, was the de­fend­ing cham­pion, and Pe­nesa’s mar­gin of vic­tory, based on scor­ing by seven judges, was one point. The win­ner re­ceived $7,500 and a tro­phy knife. Kepa­ni­paa Da­maso, 30, of Waikoloa, Hawaii is­land, fin­ished third. Pe­nesa, 26, who per­forms at Hong Kong Dis­ney­land, said he spent the past year “prac­tic­ing ev­ery day to make my moves flow,” ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease. He daz­zled the sold-out crowd with an ex­cit­ing rou­tine that had him spin­ning, twirling and jug­gling fireknives be­hind his back and over­head, ac­com­pa­nied by the pound­ing beat of 11 Poly­ne­sian drum­mers. Now in its 25th year, the World Fireknife Cham­pi­onship was es­tab­lished by the Poly­ne­sian Cul­tural Cen­ter to show­case the tra­di­tional Samoan war­rior knife dance per­formed with the “nifo oti,” or “deadly tooth.” The three-day com­pe­ti­tion fea­tured 18 fireknife dancers from Samoa, Ja­pan, Tahiti, Cal­i­for­nia, Florida and Hawaii com­pet­ing in the elite Se­nior Di­vi­sion.

Other re­sults:

>>

First, Matagi Lilo,

11, Ewa Beach, $300 prize and tro­phy knife; sec­ond, Mose Lilo, 9, Ewa Beach; third, Isaako Mil­ford, 11, Hau­ula.

>> First, Jeralee Galeai, 16, Laie, $800 and tro­phy knife; sec­ond, Justyce Ed­monds, 17, Syd­ney; third, Hunter Nery, 16, Wa­ialua.

COUR­TESY PHO­TOS

Ju­nior Di­vi­sion (ages 6 to 11): In­ter­me­di­ate Di­vi­sion (ages 12 to 17): Falaniko Pe­nesa won this year’s World Fireknife Cham­pi­onship at the Poly­ne­sian Cul­tural Cen­ter.

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