With little competition having been held around the country this year, Athletics PNG took the opportunity to fly in a number of targeted national squad athletes for the event to assist their preparations for the National Championships, which will be held next month.
The highlight of the weekend was a sensational 200m time of 21.15 seconds by Leroy Kamau, eclipsing the time set at the 2015 Pacific Games by his coach Nelson Stone, which was at that time the fastest 200m ever recorded by a PNG athlete on home soil.
This followed a shock result in the 100m final the previous day when Kamau was upstaged by Emmanuel Anis from Wewak, who edged him by just 4/1000ths of a second. An examination of the photo finish film showed that Anis crossed the line in 10.695 seconds and Kamau 10.699.
PNG’s middle and long distance runners as expected showed very good form, with Israel Takap winning an exciting men’s 1500m race in 4min 12 seconds despite an unfortunate mix up with the lap counting.
James Kuadua posted his best time of the season to win the 5000m in 15min 56 seconds whilst Siune Kagl won the 3000m in 9min 06 seconds.
Monica Kalua was dominant in the women’s 1500m and 3000m. It was however, a weekend to forget for dual Pacific Games gold medallist Simbai Kaspar, who made his own way to Kimbe only to find himself way off the pace in the 1500m, clocking a disappointing time of over 10 minutes for the 3000m.
Athletics PNG President, Tony Green, commended the local association under the leadership of Steven Tarado and coach Wilson Malana for its commitment this year to implementing programmes and conducting many local competitions in challenging circumstances.
“It’s great to see the local athletes making use of this wonderful track facility,” he said.
Large numbers of local athletes turned out to participate in many different age divisions. Local junior sprinters Lenia Gilis, Danlyne Siliwen and Graeme Bai caught the attention of Athletics PNG with strong performances in September at the NGI Regional Championships in East New Britain. All three were outstanding in their events in Kimbe, with Gilis clocking a very impressive 59.34 seconds in the 400m and Bai running 22.12 seconds in the 200m.
In the field events, the highlight was the long jump with 2019 Pacific Games representative, Eldan Toti, just getting the better of Morobe’s Steven Ray with 6.94m to 6.80m.
Athletes are now turning their attention to the PNG Air National Championships to be staged in Port Moresby from December 4 to 6.
(Men’s 100m final)