Over 300 International athletes from 22 countries will be making their mark in Queensland this week with Griffith University to host the Oceania Athletics Association Grand Prix Series at the athletics track at their Gold Coast campus.
The event will be held over three days, August 4 - 8 2009, and will be held in conjunction with the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian regional athletics Championships.
The Series will serve as the final preparations before the World Track and Field Championships, held in Berlin in mid-August.
While the Oceania Regional cCampionships will be contested by the elite of Oceania's track and field talent, selected athletes will also contest for the title of Grand Prix Series champion.
While all member federations will field strong teams, it is expected that the main contenders for the Grand Prix champion will come from Papua New Guinea and Fiji. PNG will boast IAAF High Performance scholarship athlete Salome Dell (800m) and World Championship-bound Nelson Stone (400m) while Fiji will also field strong contenders in Niko Verekkauta (200m, 400m), World Youth Championships semi-finalist Banuve Tabakaucoro (100m, 200m) and Makelesi Bulikiobo (100m, 200m, 400m).
Despite fielding one of the smallest teams, Vanuatu's team contains Arnold Sorina, an IAAF scholarship athlete determined to perform well ahead of his World Championships campaign in Berlin.
French Polynesia (Tahiti) is the first Federation to arrive at the Gold Coast and their World Championship athletes, Terani Feramira and Toriki Urarii are hoping that the extra days of preparation will give them the edge.
The Series will be held at Gold Coast City Athletics Track, University Drive (off Parklands Drive) at Southport, Gold Coast. The dates are times are as follows:
Tuesday 4 August: 1pm - 2.45pm
Thursday 6 August: 11am - 5.25pm
Saturday 8 August: 10am - 3pm