THE PNG women’s 4x400m relay team broke the national record on Monday night in New Delhi but missed out by one second on a place in the final.
Despite the heroics of Betty Burua , Salome Dell and Toea Wisil, the absence of a fourth specialist 400m runner was the difference between going through to the final and having to settle for a national record.
With reserve 400m runner Venessa Waro weakened through sickness, 100m specialist Helen Philemon had to step in to help the 4x400m team.
Dell led a gallant effort with a fantastic second leg which put the PNG team briefly in the lead against Botswana, England and Scotland but the PNG girls were eventually overhauled and finished fifth behind Uganda in 3:40.40 which is 0.15 seconds faster than their gold medal winning time at the 2007 SP Games in Samoa.
It was also a valiant effort by Wisil who backed up after her 200m final and was visibly exhausted after running the anchor leg.
Uganda claimed the last place in the final with 3:39.30. It was the PNG athletics team’s fourth national record of the games with Nelson Stone (400m), Toea Wisil (200m) and Salome Dell (800m) being the other three. PNG’s athletes have set new national records in a total of eight different events this year, with others being Nelson Stone 200m; Mong Tavol triple jump; Toea Wisil 400m and Dell 1500m.