Setback in Kaputin’s Tokyo games dream

Rellie Kaputin’s dream of qualifying outright for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, has suffered a setback with a foot injury sustained in Port Moresby recently.

Kaputin had been in the Capital to attend to Australian visa requirements before returning to the Gold Coast to prepare for the forthcoming World Championships. She qualified for the Worlds by winning the Oceania title with a massive personal best 6.50m in the long jump.

She was asked to assist with a clinic for schoolchildren by demonstrating the long jump, where she landed awkwardly and the result was a badly swollen foot, leaving her unable to walk.

Athletics PNG arranged an x-ray immediately; Team PNG medical staff were alerted and Kaputin was seen by Dr Ivan Ravu.

Head physiotherapist Matthew Natusch visited Port Moresby and spent time with Kaputin to set her on her way with some simple exercises that will aid the recovery process and it is expected that she will soon begin a rehabilitation programme at the High Performance Centre at Taurama.

APNG President Tony Green thanked the medical staff for their support and commended Kaputin for the way she had handled the situation.

“If anyone can overcome a setback like this, it will be Rellie,” said Green.

“She is mentally very strong and always has a positive outlook and that’s what makes her the champion she is. I really admire her determination.”

Kaputin herself, when asked to comment, said: “I am staying on top of my simple exercises every day that was given to me by Matthew and hoping to get back to training soon. I am a goal driven athlete and when I set goals, I always work hard towards achieving them.

“Winning the Oceania Championships against the best Australian athletes to qualify for World Championships has given me the confidence in my ability to qualify for Tokyo.”

A new Olympic qualifying system is now in place for athletics and world ranking is very important. An athlete’s ranking can be improved by performing well in specific competitions and it is no longer just based on performance. Hence athletes need to be strategic in selecting the competitions they participate in.

“Based on recent assessments done separately by both Bob Snow and by Oceania Athletics, Rellie is currently PNG’s top ranked athlete and based on her outstanding jump of 6.50m achieved at the Oceania Championships, she appeared to be the athlete with the best chance of qualifying outright,” said Green. “Obviously the injury is a setback but Rellie deserves our full support in her recovery and we will do everything we can to get her back in training as quickly as possible.”

(Rellie Kaputin at the 2019 Pacific Games – Picture: Pacific Games News Service)

Press release