Samoa, Fiji, PNG and New Caledonia Top the Field in Athletics

 

By Daniel Kerwin and Ingrid Cosnier, Port M oresby 2015 Games News Service

PORT MORESBY, July 17 – On the penultimate day of Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games field events on Thursday, almost the entire space within BSP Stadium was put to use as the big four – Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia – won the spoils.

There was competition in discus, javelin, shot put, high jump, triple jump and long jump throughout the course of the afternoon, keeping the crowd entertained until the much anticipated 200m and 4x400m relay events capped things off in the evening.

In the men’s discus, Alexander Rose comfortably took gold with a throw of 56.40 metres.

“I’m very excited, I’m really happy with the result,” Rose said. “It’s awesome to come here representing Samoa and coming away with the gold medal.”

Debono Paraka (PNG) took silver with a throw of 47.13m and Erwan Cassier’s (NCL) fling of 45.01 won bronze.

The event saw many foul throws during the competition, which may have been due to the facility not having been fully broken in yet.

“I didn’t really throw as far as I usually do, although I had a big foul in the competition,” Rose said. “I was kind of slipping all over the place because the ring was freshly poured, but I’m still happy to come here and come away with the gold.”

Rose and Cassier also won medals in Wednesday’s hammer event, with Rose earning silver behind Cassier’s gold.

The men’s high jump was won by Fiji’s Rajendra Prasad, with Ogun Robert (NCL) taking silver.

The two competitors failed all attempts at 2.06m which meant both finished with identical 2.03m jumps. Prasad was named the winner on count back to see who had fewer misses in previous rounds.

Sailasa Kalouniviti (FIJ) took bronze after clearing 1.97m.

Robert was content to settle for silver, having walked away from competition after Noumea 2011 and only recommencing training again this year.

“I am satisfied, I was a long way away (from competing) and I got the silver medal today,” Robert said. “Especially with (Prasad), he is an old friend, we’ve jumped together in Samoa, New Zealand, so I am happy for him and for myself too. It’s perfect.”

The women’s heptathlon wrapped up with the long jump, javelin throw and 800m race on Thursday, with PNG’s Adrine Monagi holding onto her overnight lead to win with a score of 5019.

Lucie Turpin (NCL) placed second with 4832 points and Helen Philemon (PNG) edged her way into the bronze medal position with 4451 points.

Monagi had the best long jump of the competition (5.87m), Eunice Steven (PNG) made the best javelin throw (35.92m) and Turpin crossed the 800m line first in 2:38.09.

In the individual women’s javelin event, experienced New Caledonia teammates Linda Selui and Bina Ramesh squared off for gold, with 37-year-old Selui taking the top prize with a throw of 47.72m. Ramesh, 35, took silver with a best effort of 46.32m.

Gwoelani Patu (TAH) finished with bronze after a throw of 40.77m.

Papua New Guinea added to a dominant day on the track with success in the women’s triple jump, as Rellie Kaputin (PNG) took gold with a distance of 12.65m.

Milika Tuivanuavou (FIJ) took second with a 12.05m effort and Annie Topal (PNG) placed third with a jump of 11.99m.

The men’s seated shot put saw Thierry Cibone (NCL) claim gold, teammate Marcelin Walico (NCL) collect silver and Christian Chee Ayee (TAH) pick up bronze.

Thursday’s field events took place in the backdrop as the crowd raised the roof supporting PNG’s success in the track events throughout the course of the evening.

Athletes in the field events were excited to be competing in front of such an energetic crowd admitted New Caledonian high jumper Robert.

“The crowd is amazing, we often talk about this (with other athletes) that this crowd is the best I have ever seen, even at the French championships or the world championships.”

“Here in PNG the crowd is very receptive, they support every athlete, so honestly speaking this is perfect. I’ll come back as soon as there is another championship, I love it.”

Samoan thrower Rose was equally glowing about the reception he has received throughout the Games.

“It’s exceeded every expectation that I had,” Rose said. “The Pacific is a beautiful place, and Papua New Guinea is one of the most beautiful that I’ve ever seen.”

“Port Moresby is a wonderful city, and I’ve really enjoyed my time with the people who make it what it is.”

GNS dk/ic/ts/jc/jl/pg for more information visit www.portmoresby2015.com

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