Marshall Islands ref whistles Gold Medal game at Pacific Games
Sailass Kotton, one of the top basketball referees in the Marshall Islands, officiated at the Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia. Kotton is a sports coordinator and ECC gym manager for the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the RMI. He is in the top echelon of basketball officials in the country. He has previously officiated regionally at the Oceania Championships and the Micronesian Games.
At the end of the tournament, Sailass was chosen as one of three refs to whistle the men’s championship showdown between host New Caledonia and Guam. For fans, it was a nail biter, with New Caledonia winning, 50-43.
“I refereed with partners from Fiji and New Zealand,” said Sailass on his return to Majuro. The stadium was sold out with more than 3,000 in attendance. He said he was surprised and flattered to be chosen for the top game of the tournament. “They (tournament organizers) didn’t show us the schedule until 10am on the day of the game when I learned I had the game.”
During the tournament, FIBA Oceania Secretary General Steve Smith, who was at the Pacific Games in Noumea, reported on September 2 that, “Sailass is officiating a game per day with some good partners and performing solidly.”
On Friday, September 2, 2011, Sailass and officials from Fiji and New Zealand refereed the features match of the day before 3,000 people at Stadium Sud. New Caledonia won a thriller by one point over Tahiti, 52-51.
On Saturday, September 3, Sailass refereed the men’s Guam vs. America Samoa matchup that Guam won easily in a blow out, 84-46.
Sailass and the MIBF thank the Marshall Islands National Olympic Committee and FIBA Oceania for their assistance in making possible his presence for basketball clinics held prior to the start of the Pacific Games and his participation in officiating the basketball tournament.