Despite the challenges posed by venue closures and other covid restrictions ,Athletics PNG proudly and successfully staged the PNG Air National Track and Field Championships in Kimbe last weekend.
Thanks to support from PNG Air and Team PNG sponsor Kumul Consolidated Holdings, APNG were able to fly all of their top PNG based athletes to the event to ensure that they all had a chance to stake their claim for a place in the National team next year.The standout athlete for the Men was Daniel Baul, who ran a blistering 47.1 seconds in his heat of the 400m.
It was the equal second fastest hand-held time by any PNG athlete – joining Subul Babo and Baobo Duaba-Neuendorf on the All Time Best List. Daniel followed up this superb performance with a time of 47.5 in the final. Crossing the line shortly after Daniel were Adolf Kauba (48.6), Jobbie Kinzu (49.2) and Jonah Theo (49.4).
With the strong showing at home, and in the US, the PNG Men’s 400m Relay Team looks to be in good shape for Saipan next year.
In addition, Daniel Baul won the 100m Hurdles (15.4), 400m Hurdles (53.8) and the 200m (21.8) events. In the 200m final the placegetters were Terrence Talio (21.9) and Paias Wisil (21.9) making for an exciting tight finish to the race.Pre race favourite Baul ran very relaxed for the first 150m before sprinting past three athletes to claim the gold medal.
Significant performances came from the middle and long distance men with George Yamak getting a personal best in the 1500m with a time of 4:02.1, moving him even closer to breaking the national record of 4:00.02 held by Sebastian Sena from 1997.
Yamak’s time would have been good enough to win gold in this event in the 2019 Apia Pacific Games. Aquila Turalom was second with a significant personal best time of 4:04.9 which is five second improvement his previous best time of 4min 9 seconds that he recorded in Port Moresby in July
Adolf Kauba was the winner of the 800m event in the time of 1:56.8 from Samuel Pai (1:57.5) and Aquila Turalom (1:58.4).
Also running faster than the gold medal winning time in Apia was Siune Kagl who narrowly won the 5000m and 10000m metres from relative newcomer Dilu Goiye.
Both Siune (33:12.7) and Dilu (33:14.6) were much faster than PNG’s gold medal winning time in Apia. PNG swept the medals in that race with Simbai Kaspar taking gold in 33:34.90.
Kagl also won the 5000m narrowly from Dilu Goiye in the time of 15:43.9 which was faster than the gold medal time of 15:45.54 by Samuel Aragaw from French Polynesia.
Dilu, also faster than the Apia gold medal winner had the time of 15:44.1.The Men’s Distance Programme is certainly producing good results.
The Men’s sprints saw many fine performances from the domestic athletes. It must be remembered that many of the top PNG athletes are at present studying in the USA.
The list of up-and-coming sprint contenders is large and impressive. Paias Wisil is carrying on the family name with his good win the 100m in the time of 10.5 seconds.
He narrowly won from Chabby Solomon (10.6), Terrence Talio (10.7) and Graham Bai (10.7).
Johnny Bai, the son of former champion and Pacific Games gold medal winner, Geoffrey Bai.
Johnny a won the 400m event in the time of 52.1 seconds and also took out the U18 Mens 100m and won the open B division race in the 200m.
In the field events one of the outstanding performances came from the national record holder in the Javelin – Lakona Gerega. His winning throw of 61.78m was not far from his record of 64.89m.
In the jumps there were good contests between Eldan Toti and Karo Iga.
Eldan won the Long Jump (6.83m) from Karo (6.54m) while in the High Jump Karo was the winner on countback with a height of 1.90m with the same height for Eldan.
As expected, the standout performance for the women came from Toea Wisil who won the 100m in the time of 11.5 seconds. Behind her came Edna Boafob (12.20) and Adrine Monagi (12.30).
Toea withdrew from the 200m and 400m finals with a sore knee but showed that she still is the best in the Pacific Islands – by a wide margin.
In the absence of Toea, Edna was the winner of the 200m in the time of 25.7 seconds, from Adrine Monagi (26.0) and Serah Neuendorf (26.4). Serah had a busy programme competing in the 100m, 200m, 400m 100m Hurdles and 400m Hurdles.
Adrine Monagi was a clear winner in the 100m Hurdles in the time of 14.8 seconds. In the 400m Edna Boafob won a tight race in 58.30 seconds from Serah Neuendorf (59.80) and young Patricia Kuku (60.1) who was the standout performer of the large WNB team.
In the middle-distance events Scholastica Herman won both the 800m (2:28.0) and the 1500m (5:11.50).
The most successful distance runner was Ongan Awa with convincing wins in the 5000m (20:17.9) and the 10000m (43:46.8).
National Record holder Sharon Toako won the Discus with a throw of 36.89m and the holder of the National Record for the Hammer Throw, Jackie Traverts won her event with the distance of 30.12m.
Vivian Tutuai was a double winner with good performances in the Long Jump (4.57m) and the Triple Jump (10.25m).
By holding the National Championships in Kimbe, it was a wonderful opportunity for many of the local WNB athletes to compete and stake their claim to representative teams in the future.
PNG is lucky to have such a great venue as the Sasindran Muthuvel Stadium in Kimbe.