Sapolai Yao and Skene Kiage, from Papua New Guinea, and Rosefelo Siosi, of the Solomon Islands watched from the stands as Cairns prepared itself to host the 2015 Oceania Athletics Championship.
“We’re friends outside the track, but when we’re in the track, we’re not friends for a few minutes,” Yao explained.
The trio don’t let their rivalry get in the way of a friendly conversation as their events draw closer.
With over 28 years of experience between them and many large international championships under their belt, so they are quite experienced as they head into this year’s Championships.
Yao and Kiage will go head to head in the 3000 metre in a long-standing rivalry. The pair will be the closely watched from the sidelines as they take to the track on Sunday.
Yao has been competing since 1999, while this will be Kiage’s eighth year in athletics.
Siosi competed in the Men’s 10,000 metre race this morning, and crossed the line in third place with a time of 37:00.71.
With pride, Siosi tells of his first Oceania Athletics Championships, four years ago. He took home gold in both his five and ten kilometre races. “And I got my PB,” he added.
Siosi laughed as he told us how strange it was to run on a surfaced track. “Back home I don’t run on a track like this.”