Once again the distance race – this time the 10000m – started in the early light of dawn.
The Junior Men’s 10000m was won by Mathew Dryden (NZL – 34:02.75) from Rosfelo Siosi (SOL – 34:52.47) with both of these athletes breaking the old Championship Record set by Rosfelo in 2012.
The Junior Women’s 10000m was won by Libby Jacques (AUS – 37:54.18) from her compatriot Jayde Hill (40:06.92).
Sharon Firisua (SOL – 39:06.25) won convincingly from Elodie Mevel (PYF – 40:21.00), with both the runners being under Elodie’s Championship Record that was set in Tahiti last year.
Hamish MacDonald (Regional Australia – 33:22.40) was the winner of the Senior Men’s 10000m from Cook Islands; Roland Neurerer (39:16.87).
Hammer Throw action saw the medals distributed as follows –
Senior Men’s Hammer Throw, won by Emanuele Tusitatino (SAM – 45.33m) from Dale Pritchard (NZL -35.98m) and Shaka Sola (SAM – 34.23m).
Junior Men’s Hammer Throw won by Tom Quinn (NZL – 55.16m) from Bradley Herbert (AUS – 46.91m) and Jack Bannister (Regional Australia – 39.44m).
The Senior Men’s 100m had a large field of 23 athletes requiring three rounds to decide the medals. The fastest in the first round were – Siueni Filimone (TGA – 10.75 +2.3), Banuve Tabakaucoro (FIJ – 10.94 -0.3), Eddie Magele (SAM – 10.97 +1.4) and Kupun Wisil (PNG – 11.04 +0.3). There was little change in the semi-finals with the same names appearing in the group to qualify for the final.
The Senior Women’s 100m, with only 8 competitors had two heats to eliminate two athletes. Toea Wisil (PNG) was by far the fastest of the 8 with a time of 11.79 [-1.6], with Fiji’s Younis Bese (12.15 – +1.3) being the next best.
The Junior Men’s 200m, with 30 competitors, required three rounds to decide the medals. The first round heats saw Batinisavu Uluiyata (FIJ – 22.24 +0.5) as fastest qualifier, from Rene Zacchini (AUS – 22.49 +0.9) and Apolosi Ratumudu (FIJ – 22.63 +1.4). In the semi-finals the stand-out athlete was Batinisavu Uluiyata (FIJ – 21.98 -0.6), from Sean Fitzsimmons (AUS 22.28 -0.6) and Nicholas Bate (AUS – 22.41 -0.5).
Caitlyn George (NZL) was the fastest qualifier in the Junior Women’s 200m, with a time of 25.13 +1.2, from Georgia Hulls (NZL – 25.51 -0.2) and Regine Tugade (GUM – 25.74 +1.2).
Anna Staib (AUS) won the Senior Women’s High Jump with a clearance at 1.63m. The silver medal went to Rellie Kaputin (PNG – 1.57m) and the bronze to Mihiatea Gooding (PYF) with 1.54m.
The Junior Women’s Triple Jump was won by Anna Thomson (NZL – 11.66m +0.0) from Jacinta Fisher (AUS – 11.60 +3.3) and Atipa Mabonga (NZL – 11.50m +0.5).
Nicholas van Gelder (AUS) won the Junior Men’s Long Jump with a new Championship Record of 7.21m [-1.0]. Second was Fiji’s Waisale Dausoko 6.94m [+0.0].
The Junior Women’s 400m Hurdles event was won by Kasey Moore (AUS) in 64.86 seconds from Raylyne Kanam (PNG – 66.26). The Junior Men’s 400m Hurdles was won by Mathew Crowe (AUS) in 54.91 from fellow Australian Robert Broadhead with 56.26 seconds.
The Senior Women’s 400m Hurdles was won convincingly by PNG’s Sharon Kwarula in the excellent time of 59.82 seconds. The silver medal was collected by Lauren McAdam (AUS) with 61.95 and the bronze by Donna Koniel (PNG – 62.06).
Leigh Bennett from Australia won the Senior Men’s 400m Hurdles in the time of 52.52 seconds from PNG’s Wala Gime (53.47).
The Senior Men’s Discus was won by Dale Pritchard (NZL) with a distance of 47.76m, with Samoa’s Emanuele Tusitatino second with a throw of 41.77m.
The Senior Women’s Discus saw the gold medal going to Ariana Blackwood from New Zealand (41.44m) from New Caledonia’s Atanasia Takosi (40.07m).
The Junior 800m events were dominated by Australia and New Zealand. The Junior Women’s race was won by Holly Manning (NZL) in a new Championship Record of 2:11.17 from Australia’s Grace Victor (2:13.92). The Junior Men’s 800m was won by Alec Arnold (AUS) with a time of 1:55.61 from Theunis Pieters (NZL) in 1:56.75.
The Senior Women’s 800m was won by Alicia Keir (AUS) in 2:16.10 from PNG’s Donna Koniel (2:18.52).
A large field of 11 contested the Senior Men’s 800m. Tom Fawthorpe (AUS) won in the time of 1:51.23. In second position was PNG’s Kaminiel Matlaun who ran a 4-second personal best to smash the PNG National Junior Record with his breakthrough time of 1:52.81. Third was Fiji’s Epeli Batisila (1:54.66) and fourth was local athlete, Alex Beddoes (1:54.85).
PNG won both the Junior Women’s Javelin (Adrine Monagi – 38.26m) and the Senior Women’s Javelin (Eunice Steven – 34.96m).
The Senior Men’s Triple Jump was an absorbing competition. Fiji’s Eugene Vollmer was injury-free and was also in very good form. The swirling wind changed direction frequently during the competition. Eugene’s third jump was 15.60m, and way beyond Frederic Erin’s record of 15.45m, but the wind was +2.3 mps. In the fourth round he jumped 15.50m with a “legal” wind reading of +0.0 mps. Out came the steel tape to re-measure and it was confirmed that his jump was 15.51m – a new Championship Record. Tim McGuire (AUS – 14.99m +1.8) was second and PNG’s Patrick Hou was third (13.90m – +2.9).
Only three competitors entered the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase – all from Australia. The Senior Division was won by Nikki Hiscock (11:56.02) from Cassie Dege (12:09.87). Georgia Winkcup won the Junior Division in 10:37.91 – smashing the old record from 2010.
The Junior Women’s 200m was won by Georgia Hulls (NZL) in 24.88 [-0.2] breaking the old record of 24.96 set by Lauren Wilson in 2010. Second was Caitlyn George (NZL – 25.26) and Regine Tugade (GUM – 25.52) was third.
The Junior Men’s 3000m Steeplechase was an all-Tahiti affair. It was a closely contested struggle for the entire race, with the winner, Loic Mevel (10:29.55) only getting the upper hand over Louis Ligerot (10:31.51) at the final barrier.
The much anticipated Junior Men’s 200m also saw the Championship Record (21.46 by Geoffrey Bai – in 1998) being broken. Nicholas Bate (AUS), with a wind reading of +1.7, crossed the line in first position in 21.41 seconds. Batinisavu Uluiyata (FIJ) was second in 21.86 and Australia’s Sean Fitzsimmons was third with 21.87 seconds.
As expected, PNG’s Toea Wisil won the Senior Women’s 100m, breaking the old record held by compatriot Mae Koime, who ran 11.66 in 2008. Toea’s time was 11.57 [+0.7]. Fiji’s Younis Bese was second in 12.24 just ahead of Patricia Taea (COK – 12.34) and Lovelite Detenamo (NRU – 12.40).
There was much speculation about the true form of Pacific Islands’ sprint king, Banuve Tabakaucoro (FIJ). He has easily won his heat and semi-final, but was he ready for a special performance? The answer came as soon as the gun went-off. He exploded from the blocks and by 20m it was just a matter of the margin of his win – he was totally dominant. Banuve crossed the line in 10.30 seconds, and with a reading of -0.2 mps, he had eclipsed his own record of 10.46 seconds set in 2011. PNG’s Kupun Wisil was in second position (10.80), ahead of Samoa’s Eddie Herene Magele (10.85) and PNG’s Ruwan Gunasinghe (10.96). Banuve improved on his personal best of 10.33 set at last year’s Mini Games in Wallis & Futuna. He is closing in on the Pacific Islands’ Best Performance of 10.26 set by his countryman, Jone Delai in 1997.
The 4 x 400m events concluded the three-day meet. The first three races were processions, with the result determined early in proceedings.
The Junior Men’s race was won by Australia in 3:22.72, breaking the old record from 2012.
The Junior Women’s race also went to Australia in 3:54.91, breaking the old record set in 2012.
The Senior Women’s was won by Australia in 3:51.49.
It took the final relay, the Senior Men’s event, to “raise the roof” and lead to an exciting finish. The two big Pacific Islands rivals in the event – Fiji and Papua New Guinea – have a long history of great tussles in the 4 x 400m. In the 23 Pacific Games held so far, either Fiji or PNG has won the gold medal on 19 occasions, with Fiji having the overall upper-hand.
From the gun, the lead Fiji runner, Banuve Tabakaucoro, opened up a significant gap and looked very impressive in this unfamiliar role. The second PNG runner, Wala Gime, pegged back the Fiji lead and the race was back on an even keel. The two anchor runners took the baton with only a few metres separating them. Theo Piniau (PNG) was just ahead of Batinisavu Uluiyata (FIJ). Batinisavu won the Junior 400m gold, and Theo won the Senior 400m event. The two battled it out around the final lap of the track with Theo digging deep to hold on for a win in 3:16.72 from Fiji who stopped the clock at 3:19.13.
We all look forward to seeing these two teams do it all again next year in Cairns and they prepare themselves for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby. With all of their athletes being fit and healthy, who knows how fast they can go.
Our sport is all about competition, and this final race of the 2013 Oceania Athletics Championships, was a great way to finish three days in the tropical paradise of the Cook Islands – where the sun was shining brightly for the finish of the meet.
The youth (and not so young) of the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia are now invited to gather in Cairns, North Queensland, Australia for the next edition of the Oceania Athletics Championships (May 8th, 9th & 10th in 2015) when we will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Oceania Championships. We have come a long way since the first edition of this meet in Suva in 1990 and we hope that the stature of the Championships continues to grow. We know it will.