Athletics Fiji selected 10 athletes to the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games that is currently underway in Turkmenistan in the city of Ashgabat. Despite the long travel, the team arrived all well to Turkmenistan and made quick work of trying to get used to the time zone difference and the 28 degree weather by day and 18 degrees by night.
In the first day of competition, Samuela Railoa placed 3rd in his heat in a time of 49.58s qualifying him for the semifinals where he finished 3rd again in a time of 49.55s. Mustafa Fall also made his first ever indoor debut with a 14.62m throw, well below his capabilities nevertheless an Asian Indoor ranking of 18th overall and a new indoor shot put national record. Errol Qaqa was also in top form and wasn’t going to let the mishap of the Oceania get the best of him and so running in heat 2, Errol finished 5th with a personal best and an official Fiji National Indoor 60m hurdle record of 8.45s to better Harold Nair’s record of 8.79s. Avikash Lal suffered a strain during his heat of the 3000m but still managed to finish the race in a time of 9:53.02s.
On the women’s side both Serenia Ragatu and Elenani Tinai clocked 59.82s and 59.78s respectively, they both ran really well considering running for the first time on an indoor 200m track where by athletes are required to run in their lanes for the first 150m and then crossing over to lane 1 for the last 250m of the race.
Competition continues today with round 1 of the men’s and women’s 60m where we will be represented by sprint sensations Aaron Powell, Braelynn Yee and Makereta Naulu.
Calvin Yee for Athletics Fiji