Oceania Regional Championships - Final Wrap-up

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Melanesian Highlights


The first track event of the day saw a good 10000m Men's Final. While the event was won by French Polynesia, the two top Melanesian runners, Chris Votu (SOL) and Philip Nausien (VAN) helped make it a competitive race. The Melanesian gold went to Chris (34:08.25) and the silver to Philip(35:43.02).


The Men's Javelin was won by Leslie Copeland (FIJ), who improved his season's best performance to 67.99m. Australia's Ashley Hollins finished in second position with 61.12m.


Wala Gime (PNG) and Jone Wainiqolo (FIJ) were the only two to enter the invitational 400m Hurdles. Wala ran a very fast time of 52.45 seconds to beat Jone - 56.06 seconds. With Wala not going to the Cook Island Pacific Games, Jone must now like his chances for the gold medal there if he works on his speed endurance over the next month.


The Women's 200m Final was a classic with the speed of Toea Wisil (PNG) versus the 400m strength of Makelesi Batimala (FIJ). It was a good race with Make easing away in the final stages to record a good win in 24.25 seconds from Toea - 24.64 seconds. Paulini Korowaqa (FIJ) was in third (25.65) and Helen Philemon (PNG) in fourth (26.24).


The Men's 200m Final was also thrilling with Niko Verekauta (FIJ) running a season's best time of 21.47 to win from PNG's Nelson Stone (21.59). Fiji's Tevita Nalovo was third (22.17) and Adison Alfred (SOL) was in fourth place (22.82).


The Long Jump winners were the best in the combined competition. Soko Salaniqiqi (FIJ) won the Women's event with a distance of 5.71m from Australia's Merrisa Colledge (5.50m). The Men's LJ was won, on his final jump (7.01m), by Australia's Julius Nyambane who at that time was only in third position. Second was Rodney Blaire (AUS - 6.71m) with third being Norman Tse (PNG - 6.69m).


The 1500m gold medals went to Kavita Maharaj (FIJ - 4:57.81) from Poro Gahekave (PNG - 5:08.60) in the Women's race, and in the Men's event to Adrien Kela (NCL - 4:08.57) from Australia's Rorey Hunter (4:09.19).


The final events of the three-day meet were the 400m Finals.


The Women's Final was won by Makelesi Batimala (FIJ) in the time of 54.90. In second was Salome Dell (PNG - 55.79) and third went to Paulini Koroqwaqa (FIJ - 58.36), who eased passed Sharon Kwarula (PNG - 58.97) in the final metres.


With no PNG Team going to the Cook Islands Makelesi is now the hottest of favourites to win the three individual sprint gold medals, and baring a mishap, two more in the relays.


The Men's race was outstanding. PNG's Kevin Kapmatana ran a big personal best in the heats, only to be disqualified. As there was a spare lane in the final, he was allowed to participate in the race by invitation, but was not eligible for the medals. That did not worry him at all - redemption was his motivation as he knew he was in good form.


Kevin exploded from the blocks and quickly went into the lead and was still in first position at the 350m mark. The experience of Nelson Stone (PNG) now came into play and Nelson pegged Kevin back and then took over the lead. Nelson won the gold in the time of 47.61 seconds. The non-medal performance of Kevin resulted in a massive personal best of 48.05 seconds, with third across the line (and silver medal winner) Wala Gime (PNG) also getting a good personal best with his time of 48.38 seconds. The bronze was won by Australia's Joshua Ahwong (48.77 seconds).


Niko Verekauta did not enter the 400m event, but must also like his chances to win the three individual sprint gold medals in the Cook Islands, and share in the relay spoils as well. He is a noted 400m runner and won the gold in that event in the SPG in Apia in 2007.


It was a great race to bring the Melanesian Championships to a close.



Polynesian Highlights


The Men's 10000m Final was won by the only Polynesian athlete in the field - Francky Maraetaata (PYF). Francky ran a well-judged race to pass Chris Votu on the final lap. His time of 34:06.17 was a personal best. He has been mainly a road-runner until now. See if he can keep the French Polynesian distance tradition going when he runs in the Pacific Games in a month's time.


One of the real strengths of Polynesia is throwing. Three of the best had good success again on the final day of the Polynesian Championship.


* Margaret Satupai (SAM) won the Shot Put with a distance of 14.39m

* Shaka Sola (SAM) won the Men's SP with a throw of 16.18m.

* Serafina Patsy Akeli (SAM) won the Javelin with her best distance of the meet - 51.54m.


The Men's Javelin gold went to Vaihau Bottari (PYF - 52.87m) from sprint hurdler, Toriki Urarii (PYF - 49.14m). Toriki must be preparing for a Decathlon in the near future.


Latai Sikuvea (TGA) won the sprint double with her win in the Women's 200m Championship. Her time was 25.67 seconds. In second place was Rebecca Gibson (NZL - 26.08) and in third Patiola Pahulu (TGA - 26.50).


Clayton Mbofana (NZL) also completed the sprint double when he won the 200m Final in the time of 22.03 seconds. Scott Burch from NZL was second (22.50) and Niue's Isaac Patuavalu was third (22.67).


French Polynesia won both of the gold medals on offer for the Long Jump competitions. Terani Faremiro (5.47m) was first in the Women's event, from Tonga's Kalina Mama'o (5.35m). The Men's gold went to Raihau Maiau (6.73m) from Tuvalu's Okilani Tinalua (6.62m) and Michael Cochrane (NZL - 5.91m).


The Men's 1500m was won in fine style by New Zealand's Michael Whitehead (4:07.61) from Pierre Bourret (PYF - 4:20.98). The next time we see Pierre run, he will be in the Veteran's category.


New Zealand won the gold medals in both of the Polynesian 400m Finals. Rebecca Gibson won the Womens (59.20) from PYF's Oceane LeFranc (60.96) with the Men's title going to Scott Burch (50.36) from PYF's Jocelyn Muntaner.



Micronesian Highlights


About-to-be-veteran Gabriel Ketson from the Northern Marianas won the Micronesian 10000m Championship in the time of 40:08.84, kicking away from his team-mate Matt Mancao (40:14.77) on the last lap.


The Javelin gold medal for Men went to Franz Dougwin (PLW - 56.46m) from Kiribati's Raobu Tarawa (49.96m), with the Women's Final being won by Liamwar Rangamar (NMI - 30.15m).


The 200m Finals went to Naome Burk (GUM - 27.37) from Lovelite Detenamo (NRU - 27.44) and Tyrone Omar (NMI - 23.41) narrowly from George David (KIR - 23.42). Kiribati filled third and fourth places. Both Naome and Tyrone won the Micronesian sprint-double after getting gold in their 100m events on Day One.


The Women's Long Jump was won by Jacquie Wonenberg (NMI - 4.66m) with the men's gold going to Deamo Baguga (NRU - 6.21m) from David Peter Birati (KIR - 6.13m).


The 1500m Champions were Nicole Layson (GUM - 5:29.57) and Jeofry Limtiaco (GUM - 4:19.91).


The final track event of the meet saw NMI's Yvonne Bennet (62.91) win the gold in the Women's 400m with Kiakia Tekambwa (KIR - 51.98) taking out the Men's Title.


Many of these athletes are now on their way to Berlin, and we wish them all of the best in their endeavours to achieve personal bests and break National Records on "the big stage".


To those going to the Cook Islands we wish you all the best in your final preparation and we look forward to meeting-up with you again in just a few weeks. Stay injury-free and focused.


The final report from the OAA Meet will be the details of all the winners in the Grand Prix competition.