Apart from the 3000m steeplechase, the team achieved a second clean sweep on July 16th in the men’s 10000m.
Simbai Kaspar won his second gold with Siune Kagl second and James Kuadua third. Toea Wisil claimed PNG’s fourth gold of the Games with a dominant performance in the 100m, clocking 11.56 seconds ahead of Heleina Young of Fiji (11.82) and Leonie Beu (11.94).
Athletics PNG says Karo Iga deserves a special mention for a remarkable silver medal winning performance in the ten event decathlon with a total of 6643 points in his first competition in this event.
Iga was second only to a very experienced New Caledonian and his total was 355 points better than the gold medal winning performance of 6288 points by Robson Yinambe in the 2015 Games.
In the women’s hammer throw, Jacklyn Travertz improved her own national record of 47.90 set recently at the Oceania Championships with a new mark of 47.99m, which won her the bronze medal. With a very good Australian, three new Caledonians and two new Zealanders in the field it was a major achievement for Travertz to get on the podium.
Rellie Kaputin had to settle for silver in the high jump with Shawntell Lockington of Fiji taking the gold as she did at the Mini Games in Vanuatu.
Ephraim Lerkin also had to settle for silver in the men’s 800m after getting himself in a position from where it was difficult to attack in the last 150m. His fast finishing burst came too late to overhaul Alex Beddoes of Cook Islands.
Australia’s Keely Small as expected won the women’s 800m however, the three PNG girls acquitted themselves very well with both Donna Koniel and Jenny Albert fighting hard to stay in touch with the Australian.
Koniel ran a season’s best of 2min 14 seconds whilst Albert (2:16.30) ran her best time since 2015 when she won silver in this event. Lyanne Tibu crossed the line in fourth place but was disqualified for stepping on the line going around the first bend (a common mistake made by junior athletes in international competitions).
The men’s 100m final as expected became a showdown between big guns Banuve Tabacaucoro (Fiji) and Jeremy Dodson of Samoa and it was the Fijian who came out on top, beating his own Pacific Games record of 10.33 seconds with a 10.31 clocking, silencing the home crowd in the process. Michael Penny and Theo Piniau both made the final and finished sixth and seventh respectively.
All three PNG athletes in both the men’s and women’s 400m made it through to Wednesday night’s finals, and with Leonie Beu setting a personal best 56.61 seconds and PNG having three of the four fastest qualifiers, another clean sweep is a possibility.
The men’s 400m final is a mouthwatering prospect with Benjamin Aliel, Shadrick Tansi, Daniel Baul and Fiji’s Kamele Rivuci all in good form. They are however likely to be running for silver and bronze with 2012 Olympic Finalist Steven Solomon of Australia also in the field.
The programme for today also includes finals in the women’s 10000m, Men’s 1500m, men’s hammer and pole vault and the women’s discus.
(Team PNG picture of the men’s 10000m champions)