The 2017 Pacific Mini Games has seen outstanding talents across all sport disciplines in the past two weeksand long distance running was no exception.

Simon Charley, an 18 year old student from Tanna, has proven himself as a contender in long distance running during the Games after picking up four gold medals within a period of four days.

After successfully completing the Men’s 10,000 metre race on Monday, Charley then snatched gold in the Men’s 3,000 metre Steeple Chase on Wednesday and two gold medals in the Men’s half Marathon, which was also the Oceania qualifier, on Thursday.

Charley started long distance running in high school and made his debut at national level during the national games in Santo last year, where he represented Tafea Province and won gold.

Since then, he has joined Team Vanuatu and trained in China to prepare for the Games and has now reaped the success of his hard work and training with some impressive results. He ran a time of 34:05.91 minutes in the Men’s 10,000 metre, 9:44.37 minutes in the 3,000 metre Steeplechase and 1:15:44.00 hours in the half Marathon.

Vanuatu Athletics coach Sandy Molu, said he always knew Charley would be a contender and he is proud of his achievements.

“Simon’s performance has been outstanding all week and I have been telling him that long distance is his strength and that he should expect to win gold because his timing and speed during training have been incredible,” said coach Molu.

“I have so much confidence in him and his ability to perform and the gold medals that he won are the result of his hard work and determination to do well and as a coach that is all you can ask from an athlete.”

Molu also mentioned that future international competitions are on the horizon for Charley which are yet to be confirmed, but he is looking forward to getting back into training and working with the young athlete again.

Avikash Lal from Fiji claimed the Games’ silver in Thursday’s half Marathon and bronze in the Oceania championship.

Vanuatu’s Jack Nawka won bronze in the Game’s results withhis teammate ArmonNapuat securing the silver in the Oceania Championship.

By Melissa Fare

Photo By Peter Carroll