Once more the large teams from Australia and New Zealand collected most of the medals on the final day of competition.
In the U 18 Girls’ Division, Australia won six gold, and New Zealand won one.
In the U 18 Boys’ Division Australia won five gold and New Zealand won three.
In the Open Women’s Division Australia won four gold, New Zealand one, and PNG one.
In the Open Men’s Division the medals were much more evenly spread with New Zealand winning three gold, PNG two, and one each to Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia and Australia.
There were many fine performances with some of the top athletes collecting their third gold medal of the meet.
Alexander Rose (SAM) won the Hammer Throw with a personal best distance of 55.49m to add to his gold in the Shot (also a pb) and Discus.
Cedric Dubler (AUS), with his win the High Jump (2.06m) added another gold to the ones he already had from the Pole Vault and the Long Jump. Cedric is a scholarship holder at the Oceania RDC Regional Centre on the Gold Coast.
U 18 Girls’ star, Carlie Whitford (AUS) added the gold in the 400m Hurdles (64.76 seconds) to those from the 200m and the 100m Hurdles.
U 18 Boy, Alexander (Sandy) Dalton (AUS) won his three gold medals in the Shot, Discus and Hammer.
All was not doom and gloom for the Island Nations on this final day of competition.
PNG picked-up three gold medals from solid performances by Toea Wisil (100m in 11.90 seconds) to complete the sprint double in fine style. Sapolai Yao in his third distance race in three days, easily won the Steeplechase in a time of 9:49.67 - his second fastest time of the year. Probably the most pleasing for PNG was the win, in 51.97 seconds, by Mowen Boino in the 400m Hurdles. Mowen has not raced over the hurdles since last year and he showed that at 34-years-of-age, he still has it. He will be 36 years old at the 2015 Port Moresby Pacific Games, and he says .. “if Felix Sanchez can do it, then so can I”. Who could argue with him.
Banuve Tabakaucoro (FIJ) likewise picked up his second sprint medal with an emphatic win the 100m (11.65 seconds). People are still talking about his 200m performance. The 200m is his event, and we look forward to seeing how he can go in important competitions later in the year.
The Open Men’s 800m produced a good win for the favourite, Adrien Kela from New Caledonia. His time of 1:52.81 is one of his fastest of the year. In second place was the Cook Islands’ Alex Beddoes with a great time of 1:54.10. We are awaiting confirmation to see if this is yet another National Record for Alex. It is believed that the old record was 1:54.65 !
Although not getting gold medals, the following Islanders showed they have thrown down the gauntlet to the others in the Island Region and will be forces to reckon with at the Wallis & Futuna Mini Games and the future.
The RDC sprinters Lovelite Detenamo (NRU) and Patricia Taea (COK) have made great progress since the 2011 Pacific Games in Nauru and have now established themselves as expected medal contenders in upcoming competitions.
Siueni Filimone (TGA), second to Banuve in the 100m, is one to watch. Tonga had a great history of sprinting success in the 1980’s and 1990’s and they could be about to rebuild with athletes like Siueni. Now we have to keep them in the sport!
Fiji’s young school jumpers performed well in this meet. Isikeli Waqa came third in the High Jump with 2.03m improving on the height he jumped to win the Coca Cola Games event last month. Simione Isimeli, in coming second in the Long Jump, confirmed the talent that he showed in the Coca Cola Games, were he jumped 7.13m.
Tereapii Tapoki (COK) made a comeback in the 2011 Pacific Games, but this time decided to train more seriously and was rewarded with much better results. Her win in the Shot Putt (14.17m) and her second in the Discus (49.98m) indicate that she now is on track to reaching her personal best performances once again.
The Islander, whose performance in the U18 Boys 1500m, marked him as a potential champion of the future, was 14-year-old Tom Joe from Vanuatu. His time of 4:12.74 was outstanding for his age. To put it in perspective, he would have finished mid-field in the 2011 Pacific Games and also in the Open Men’s competition in this meet. It will be exciting to see how Athletics Vanuatu develops this undoubted talent.
The full results of the Oceania Championships are available on the OAA website. On the home page click on Competitions / Results in the menu to the left of the page.