Debutants Shine at Oceania Athletics Championships

The FMF Athletics Fiji team debutants rose up to the challenge at the Oceania Athletics Championships in Mackay these past few days, displaying passion and spirit despite the challenges they faced in their preparations leading up to the championships.

The team won three bronze medals and one gold.

Senior team member Banuve Tabakaucoro said that he was happy to see the drive and passion of these young athletes and it showed in the way they competed.

Nadroga native Waisale Inoke was the first to win a medal in the Under 20 Men’s Long Jump final, jumping a new personal best of 7.06m. Just 1cm shy of New Zealand’s Angus Lyver (7.07m). Australia’s Blake Shaw took out the gold with a distance of 7.29m.

The second medal was in the Men’s 4x100m relay final. The team finished second in a time of 41.64s behind Australia Team B. However, following a review post-race, the gold medal was then awarded to Fiji after Australia was disqualified. The team consisted of Waisale Inoke, Banuve Tabakaucoro, Nikola Raiqeu and Ratu Meli Romuakalou.

Shortly after, another Fiji athlete took to the medal podium and it was none other than Tavua native, Yeshnil Karan in the Men’s 5000m final. Finishing third behind Australia’s Sam Mcentee and Jack Bruce, Karan ran a new personal best and Commonwealth Games qualifying time of 15minutes 26.45s, placing him as the 6th best 5000m runner of all time in Fiji.

However, the team were not done yet, they hastily got a 4x400m team together and ran a decent 3minutes 19.12s finishing third behind Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Other Results

Open Men’s 400m:

  1. Nikola Raiqeu – 6th in heat 2 with a new season’s best and personal best of 49.62s
  2. Ratu Meli Romuakalou – 6th in heat 1 with a new season’s best of 50.50s
  3. Kameli Sauduadua – 8th in heat 2 with a new season’s best of 50.69s

Under 18 Girls’ 400m

  1. Torika Radovu – 5th in heat 1 in a time 62.56s and qualified for the final. The final is this afternoon.

Open Men’s 100m:

  1. Banuve Tabakaucoro – 10.68s in the heats to qualify for the final where he ran a season’s best of 10.56s finishing 8th
  2. Fiji based Taiwaneese sprinter Bryce Chou finished 6th in his heat with a time of 11.22s

Open Men’s 1500m:

  1. Yeshnil Karan ran 4mins 00.07s to finish fourth in the final of the Men’s 1500m behind New Zealand’s Mathew Taylor.

Open Men’s 200m:

  1. Banuve Tabakaucoro – finished 2nd in heat 1 with a time of 21.63s qualifying him for the finals where he ran a season’s best of 21.37s, finishing fifth.
  2. Ratu Meli Romuakalou – 4th in heat 2 with a time of 22.82s
  3. Nikola Raiqeu – 4th in heat 3 with a time of 22.56s

Open Women’s 5000m:

  1. Vilimaina Naituku – finished 6th with a new season’s best of 21minutes 31.29s.

Under 20 Men’s Triple Jump:

  1. Waisale Inoke – finished 4th with a new personal best of 13.76m.

With the conclusion of the Oceania Athletics Championships, the team will now return to Fiji whilst Banuve and Yeshnil move on to the Pacific Mini Games in Saipan later this month.

Athletics Fiji would like to thank major sponsors FMF Foods Limited for the timely assistance that helped the team in acquiring competition uniforms for the championships and deepest appreciation to Oceania Athletics for their never-ending support.

Story by: Athletics Fiji, 10/06/2022

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