Kaputin shocks Aussie champ


WOMEN’S jumps national record holder Rellie Kaputin heads into next month’s Pacific Games in excellent form after causing the biggest upset on day one of the Oceania Athletics Championships on Tuesday – winning the long jump.
With Australia and New Zealand fielding full-strength teams in Townsville, Australia, there seemed little hope of any Pacific Islanders winning gold.
However, Pacific Games champion Kaputin had other ideas and was unfazed at the prospect of taking on Australian record holder Brooke Stratton and Naa Anang, who are ranked fifth and 11th respectively in the world.
Anang was voted the outstanding female athlete at the Australian National Championships in April after winning the 100m and long jump.
After five jumps, Kaputin — who holds the national records in the long (6.27m), triple (13.28m) and high (1.77m) jumps — was in third place with a PNG record jump of 6.41m, behind Stratton (6.49m) and Anang (6.44m).
After briefly posing for a photo for the team, Kaputin sped down the runway to stun her fellow competitors and the whole audience with a magnificent final leap of 6.50m.
Stratton was unable to respond and had to settle for silver.
The winning distance at last year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, is 6.84m, set by Canada’s Christabel Nettey.
“This is a significant performance for Rellie,” Athletics Papua New Guinea president Tony Green said.
“Once again, Rellie has shown what a great competitor she is.”
Coach Phillip Newton said Kaputin had trained hard to get this far.
“Rellie knows what she wants and works hard to achieve her goals,” he said.
Another top performance for PNG on day one was from national record for Lakona Gerega in the men’s javelin.
Gerega improved his personal best and existing record of 61.84m by more than three metres to set a new mark of 64.89m.
Daniel Baul ran a top 400m hurdles time of 52.07 seconds to shave one-and-a-half seconds off his personal best and go through to today’s final as the fastest qualifier.
Other athletes, including Messach Fred (800m) Mary Tenge (5000m) Siune Kagl (500m) and James Kuadua (5000m), achieved personal bests.

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