The Athletics competition had a big first day to kick off the second week of the Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila.

In the Men’s 400m Hurdles, PNG had a good result winning both the gold and the silver with Boino Mowen finishing in a time of 52.44 secs followed by Lerkin Ephraim in53.00 seconds.

Tongan Talatala Pooi secured the bronze with a time of 54.69 seconds.

“It’s not common for a Tongan to achieve a medal in Athletics. I tried my best and I hope my people are happy with what I’ve achieved” said Pooi.

In the Men’s 800m, Cook Islands contestant Alex Beddoes lead the way winning in 1:54.77 seconds followed by PNG contestant, Martin Orovo who clocked 1:55.77, while Petro Veitaqomaki from Fiji finished third in 1:57.12.

“I felt really happy for winning team Cook Islands its first gold medal in the Pacific Mini Games this year, and also my first gold medal so far after hard work of trainings” said Beddoes.

“I just want to thank everyone who is out there supporting me, I thank my families and mostly my coach for supporting me,” he said.

Beddoes pointed out he has been training for the last four months in New Zealand where his coach lives and training is tough and that is why he believes he has won gold.

PNG success continued on the track in the blue riband event when the Men’s 100m heats were run.

In the first heat, it was a close finish with Wesley Logorava from PNG securing first place with a time of 10.73 second, while Fijian Aaron Powell ran 10.77 seconds and Samoan runner Kelvin Mosae clocked 10.95 seconds.

In the second heat, Samoa, Fiji and PNG again made their presence felt with Kelvin Mosae (SAM) finishing in 10.84 seconds, Wesley Logorava(PNG) in 10.86 seconds and Kolinio Radrudru(FIJ) third with a time of 10.94 seconds.

The three winners from each of these heats qualified for the 100m Final tomorrow.

In the Women’s 100m heats, PNG star runner Toea Wisil was challenged close to the line but it was obvious she was pacing her run finishing in 11.96 seconds, closely followed by the Cook Islands runner Patricia Taea in 12.03 seconds and MakeretaNaulu from Fiji just a breath away with 12.04 seconds.

ToeaWisil is an experienced campaigner and knows how to get to the finish line first.

“My determination is the one big contributing factor that made me reach the finish line,” she said.

In the Women’s 800m relay, Valentina Hello won the hearts of all ni-Vanuatu spectators by finishing first with a burst down the straight after being challenged on the bend by PNG runner PoroGahekave. Tuna Tine, also from PNG, finished third giving PNG a top and tail medal finish.

“Coming in first place was a big achievement for me,” said Hello.

“This is because of the hard work of my coaches, the support of my families, and the support of fellow Ni Vans cheering for me today, for that I dedicate this Gold medal to them” she said.

The Athletics competition continues on Tuesday.

By MassengFalau

Photo by Peter Carroll