Another National record for Mae Koime and several exciting races on the track were seen on the first two days of the Melanesian Championships in Lae,Papua New Guinea this weekend.
Koime became the first Papua New Guinean woman to run under 12 seconds for the 100m as she blitzed the field with an 11.96 clocking into a headwind of 0.9 metres per second on Saturday afternoon.
Otis Gowa from Cairns held off a strong challenge from the local PNG athletes to clinch the mens 100m in 10.81 secs from Wally Kirika 10.87 and Anton Lui 11.05.
In an exciting mens 400m final in which the first five athletes ran under 50 seconds,Fiji's Waisea Finau retained his championship title but was made to work very hard by Peter Tuccandidgee of North Queensland and three young local athletes who all ran personal bests.
Isireli Naikelekelevesi of Fiji won the mens 1500m with some ease but as expected a number of athletes were pulled to personal best times by trying to stay with him.
The highlight of the field events on the first two days was the mens high jump which saw a great tussle between SP Games silver medallist Rajen Prasad and local athlete Hapo Maliaki (who never trains for athletics and relies on natural talent and fitness from playing other sports).Both athletes cleared 2.0 metres with Maliaki winning on countback.
Recent suggestions that the PNG womens 4* 400m squad were capable of breaking their national record by the end of this year and showing that they were good enough to attend the Commonwealth Games next year were borne out in the results of the individual 400m.Mae Koime,Toea Wisil and Maria Kaupa all ran personal best times (of 56.52; 57.28; and 58.05 respectively) to take out the first three places.