Fiji sprinter secures Mini Games gold as Tonga bags shot put win

By RNZ

Fiji athletics star Banuve Tabakaucoro swept to victory in the men’s 100 metres title at the Pacific Mini Games in the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Fiji sprinter took out the flagship athletics race in 10.56 seconds.

It follows the win of the region’s finest sprinter, Toea Wisil of Papua New Guinea, in the women’s 100m, 24 hours earlier.

Tabakaucoro had already secured his spot in the Fiji team for the Commonwealth Games in England that begin in July.

Banuve Tabakaucoro streaks to victory in the men's 100m

Banuve Tabakaucoro streaks to victory in the men’s 100m Photo: Ken Camacho

Tonga has won one gold medal in the track and field through women’s shot putter ‘Atamaama Tu’utafaiva to follow her recent win in the Oceania athletics championships.

Karo Iga of PNG won gold in the men’s octathlon ahead of Northern Marianas’ Orrin Pharmin.

The octathlon was a gruelling feat of physical and mental endurance, with eight track and field events that included the 100m, long jump, shot put, 400m, 110m hurdles, high jump, javelin, and the 1,000m.

Weightlifting

In weightlifting, Australia won three overall titles.

Darcy Kay won the women’s 71 kilograms competition with Beau Garrett adding to Australia’s haul with men’s 89 kilograms gold.

The women’s 76 kg title went to Australia’s Olivia Kelly.

Elsewhere, the men’s 96 kilograms gold went to Tonga’s Uaealesi Funaki and the women’s 81 kilograms title was claimed by Samoa’s Faustina Opeloge.

Apolonia Vaivai has marked her return to the sport after four years away with Team Fiji’s first gold medal at the Pacific Mini Games in Saipan, Northern Marianas.

Vaivai won gold in the women’s 76kg snatch competition.

She was pushed by Olivia Kelly of Australia but Vaivai came out stronger to win in the end.

Vaivai returned to weightlifting last year after a lapse of four years.

She also won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in 2018.

CNMI weightlifters Angel San Nicolas and Leonardo Apelo won a total of two gold and four silver medals in their respective weight classes.

Tahiti stuns top seeds to claim badminton gold

In the badminton hall, Tahiti won the mixed team gold medal as they ended the round robin stage with five victories from five.

New Caledonia claimed silver and Wallis and Futuna the bronze.

The Tahitian team comprised Rémi Rossi, May Gaymann, 16-year-old Jenica Lesourd and Carl N’Guela.

Triathlon success

The New Caledonians tasted gold in the triathlon mixed relay as they came home in front of Tahiti and Fiji respectively.

Tahiti’s Benjamin Zorgnotti won the men’s aquathlon, consisting of a run-swim-run, while the women’s event went to Guam’s Manami Iijima-Martin.

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