By PATRICIA KEAMO
PAPUA New Guinea sprint champion Toea Wisil says her national record-breaking success in the recent Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games women’s 4x100m has convinced her to hold off on retirement.
Wisil, Adrine Monagi, Isila Apkup and Leonie Beu set a national record of 45.85 seconds last Thursday after breaking PNG’s previous best of 45.97s from the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.
“I should’ve retired this year,” the 34-year-old told The National this week.
“But that record-breaking success just gave me enough motivation for one last shot in next year’s Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.
“I’ll retire after that.
“It’ll be my fifth Pacific Games since my first appearance in the 2007 edition in Samoa.
“I also attended the 2011 (New Caledonia), 2015 (Papua New Guinea) and 2019 editions of the Games.
“The next one in the Solomon Islands will be my fifth and final Games before I retire.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time.
“There are now young athletes coming through.”
Wisil backed Monagi, Apkup and Beu to lead the next generation of track athletes.
“We couldn’t believe that we had broken the record,” she said.
“After I retire, they will be the next ones to continue our legacy.
“It will be a good rivalry against Fiji (in the Pacific Games).
“The challenge is for them to prepare for upcoming events.
“When I began my career, racing for Team PNG back in 2007, I bagged a silver and bronze, we won the relays.
“Then in 2011, 2015 and 2019, I dominated to record back-to-back gold medals.
“So next year will be the event that I run for the last time with these young athletes.
“They have asked me to stay on and run with them in the relay, so I can set a legacy and retire.”
When asked about her advice to upcoming athletes, Wisil said commitment, mental preparedness and physical conditioning were crucial.
By PATRICIA KEAMO