Track and field athletes shine on final day of competition

It was a successful day for many athletes as the 2017 Pacific Mini Games Athletics meet came to a close.

On Thursday afternoon, the Men’s 1500m saw Fiji finish first with Petero Veitaqomaki getting the gold, in front of Papua New Guinea’s Martin Orovo and Vanuatu’s Samson Laus.

Veitaqomaki was excited with his first gold medal win.

“I am excited for my performance. It is my first time to win gold in this kind of event in the Pacific.”

In the Women’s 1500m race, Papua New Guinea won both gold and silver through the efforts of Poro Gahekave and Jenny Albert respectively, with Guam taking bronze and in doing so collecting its first medal of the Games.

Members of the Guam team watching from the grandstand leapt and squealed with joy before heading down to the track to congratulate their teammate Georgette Criss.

Meanwhile in the Women’s 100m Hurdles, PNGs Adrine Monagi won gold leaving New Caledonia’s Jeannette Wacapo with the silver medal in the two-person race.

The Men’s Decathlon is always a highlight of a major athletics meet as it runs over two days and requires a broad range of skills and endurance from the athletes across the ten disciplines.

The final event, the 1500m, saw New Caledonia’s Florian Geffrouais beat Vanuatu’s Stephen Ham to the line with Sililo Kivalu from Wallis and Futuna finishing third.

Geffrouais had dominated all the elements of the Decathlon event to have an insurmountable lead going into this race but he underlined his command of this event with a strong finish.

As such the race result reflected the overall placings with New Caledonia winning gold, Vanuatu the silver and Wallis and Futuna taking the bronze.

In the final Para Athletics event of the Games, the Men’s Seated Shot Put saw the power of New Caledonia’s Thierry Cibone too much to beat for his opponents, with teammate Marcelin Walico winning the silver. Jone Bogidrau from Fiji won the bronze medal.

Competing in the Women’s High Jump event, Shawntell Lockington from Fiji grabbed the gold medal while PNGs Rellie Kaputin won the silver. New Caledonia’s Jeannette Wacapo picked up the bronze.

Lockington defeated Kaputin with a 1.70m high jump, half a metre higher than Kaputin could reach. New Caledonia’s Wacapo leapt 1.40mto secure the bronze.

Lockington told the Van2017 News Service that she felt proud of herself.

“My coach has supported me a lot and has given me a very good training. Therefore I am able to win this game,” she said.

“It is my first time ever winning a gold medal in a Pacific Mini Games. I would like to thank my coach and Team Fiji who is here now and who have given the support,” she said.

In the Men’s High Jump, Papua New Guinea won gold, Fiji the silver and New Caledonia picked up the bronze medal.

Papua New Guinea’s Deniel Richard said he was very proud to have won the gold medal although the weather had been bad pointing out the heavy rain could not stop him from trying his best to win.