The National, Wednesday July 17th, 2013
ATHLETICS PNG is in the process of finalising its team for the Mini Pacific Games in Wallis and Futuna following the National Track and Field Championship held at Ulapia, East New Britain, over the weekend.
A total of 324 athletes participated in the championship in various age divisions from Under-14 to the Open category.
Through the Go for Gold programme, Athletics PNG was able to ensure that financial difficulties did not prevent any squad members from making it to Rabaul, with athletes being funded to attend both the nationals and the NGI championship in Kavieng as well as attend a short training camp.
The highlight of the championship was the men’s 100m final where four athletes were electronically timed under 11 seconds.
The race was won by Kupun Wisil in 10.83 seconds with Nazmie Lee Marai (10.87) Theo Piniau (10.91) and Junior Avefa (10.94) all running good times.
“The wind conditions were favourable at +2.1 but still we haven’t seen this sort of quality performance since 2010 when five athletes ran 11.01 or better” said APNG President Tony Green.
Helen Philemon won the women’s 100m in 12.51 with Adrine Monagi running a personal best 12.59 to edge out Venessa Waro (12.61) for second.
Philemon also won the long jump with an impressive 5.51m with Rellie Kaputin second with a personal best 5.38m.
The women’s 200m was also a very close race with Betty Burua just edging out Venessa Waro with a much improved Shirley Vunatup third.
Burua also won the 400m in 57.73 seconds with Vunatup running a huge personal best 58.21 for second and Pauline Kupai third in 59.36.
Jenny Albert had a very good championship, winning the 800m in 2min19.85 and the 1500m in 4:59.95 whereas Anna Goir and Mary Kua shared the honours in the women’s long distance events.
The men’s 400m hurdles was another top race with PNG Games winner Manuai Kenas (NCD) just holding off a strong challenge by Penniel Joshua of New Ireland.
Unfortunately Utu Secondary student Raymond Koniel, winner of this event in Kavieng a week earlier was sick and unable to run.
However APNG officials are very pleased to see this number of athletes running well in this event which PNG has won at every full Pacific Games since 1991.
In the field events Mong Tavol won the men’s triple jump in 14.66m with Ben Levi second in 13.68.
Tavol also won the long jump in 6.39m with Levi second in 6.33m.
Young Annie Topal from Malabunga Seconday had an outstanding championship, winning the U18 100m and 200m events as well as the open women’s triple jump with an excellent 11.19m.
Rellie Kaputin won the high jump on a countback from Adrine Monagi with both girls clearing 1.56m.
The next major event for Athletics PNG will be the Milo-sponsored Southern Region Athletics Championship in Port Moresby on the weekend of Aug 24-25.
While the focus will be on the primary and highschool students in the U14, U16 and U18 age groups, this event will present an opportunity for the Pacific Games team members to have a predeparture competition.