Kaputin secures Tokyo spot

World Athletics has confirmed that Rellie Kaputin has been awarded the Papua New Guinea universality place, in athletics, for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kaputin has been training with her coach, Phillip Newton, since February 2020 in Kingscliff, which is just over the NSW border south of the Gold Coast. 

She has been working towards qualifying for the long jump event in the athletics competition for the Tokyo Olympics.

Chef de Mission Tamzin Wardley confirmed that the PNG Olympic Committee was advised of the decision by World Athletics early Wednesday morning.

“It is an exceptional result as acceptance into a field event, such as the long jump, is not just based on her current world ranking but her current performance as well. Her place had to be approved by a Board of Technical delegates, as the field of athletes for the long jump is a set number,” Wardley clarified.

“Rellie has been competing in the recent Australian athletics circuit events in her lead up to the Games and it was just this last weekend, at the Festival of Athletics in Townsville, that she landed her season best jump at 6.42 m.”

PNG Athletics have had their top two female athletes, Kaputin and Toea Wisil, vying for the sole universality spot on offer. This sole spot is available to countries who have not managed to qualify an athlete by reaching the qualifying mark.

Wardley explained that achieving a qualifying time or jump has been very challenging due to the lack of competitions that have been available for our PNG athletes to attend due to the pandemic.

The final selection of athlete was based on each athlete’s current world ranking.

Kaputin is now the eighth and final athlete in Team PNG for the Tokyo Olympics, with all events now closed. 

In response to her achievement, Kaputin said: “Super proud to make my childhood dream ‘To be an Olympian’ come true.

“It has not been an easy journey with injuries but giving up was not an option for me. I knew my determination, patience and trusting the process would finally be worth it.

“All credit to my super coach, Phillip Newton, who put all his heart and time into helping me achieve a dream of a lifetime.

“So excited to put on my red, gold and black and compete against the world’s best jumpers.

“Here I come, Tokyo!”

Meantime, Wardley confirmed that PNG will have 4 female and 4 male athletes across 5 sports. 

Our team is now officially:

Athletics              Rellie Kaputin

Boxing                  John Ume

Sailing                   Rose Lee Numa and Teariki Numa

Swimming           Judith Meauri & Ryan Maskelyne

Weightlifting      Dika Toua & Morea Baru

The first members of the team will depart for Japan on 16 July 2021.

Press release