Athletics PNG’s Kerowagi based distance training squad for the World Cross Country Championships
and Pacific Mini Games next year had their first competition last weekend at the National Sports
Institute in Goroka.
The athletes were really looking forward to their first trip out of town after three months of solid training. George Yamak was in very good form and with Siune Kagl and Israel Takap having returned to school in East New Britain , Yamak had too much pace in the 1500m for the rest of the field and was a runaway winner in 4min 15.3 secs. There was however a great battle for second between Abel Siune , Wilford Baia and Aquila Turalom, with the WNB athlete prevailing.
Yamak also won the 3000m in 9min 32.6 secs , though this was a closer race with Wilford Baia finishing right behind Yamak in 9min 33.4 and 10000m specialist Dilu Goiye third.
In the womens events the standout performer was Cecilia Kuman who won the 1500m in 5min 36.8 secs and set a good pace on the heavy track in the 3000m before fading in the last kilometre, leaving Anna Toby to fight it out with Mary Kua. Kuman was the SP Junior Female Athlete of the Year in 2013 following her resounding success at the 2012 PNG Games in which she totally dominated the distance events. Kuman dropped out of the sport in 2015 after not making the team for the Pacific Games.
She is however a native of Kerowagi and jumped at the opportunity to get back into running again when the programme was established. Athletics officials were also pleased to see 2015 Games representative Mary Kua showing improved form , finishing second in both 1500m and 3000.
The next competition scheduled for the athletes is the Athletics PNG Grand Prix Series in Port Moresby during the first term school holiday. However with the current situation caused by the pandemic, organisers are braced for some possible interruption to the calendar.