Both Toea Wisil and Theo Piniau set new National records during an action packed weekend for Athletics PNG. As predicted in the build up to the National Championships the conditions were ideal for Wisil with her being in peak form running with perfect climatic conditions and a huge vocal home crowd. The womens 100m was run in the opposite direction to that normally applied in order to take advantage of a slight following wind which turned out to be an almost perfect 1.6metres per second. Wisil breasted the tape in 11.36 seconds to take 1/100th of a second off the time set by Mae Koime in Brisbane in March 2007.

A bonus for Athletics PNG was that up and coming sprinter Nancy Malamut also recorded a huge personal best time of 12.36 seconds in placing second.”It was a bit of messing around relocating the equipment” said APNG President Tony Green, but well worth the effort”. Wisil later clocked 11.41 seconds in a second attempt on the record, a race in which Lyenne Nilmo of Kimbe WNB clocked an impressive 12.55 seconds. After a stressful day on Friday waiting for news on travel for the WNB team , Nilmo was at Hoskins airport by 6am Saturday. The 17 year old only arrived at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium at mid day and was lined up at the 100m start with Wisil just one hour later.

The next day over in Jacksonville Florida , Theo Piniau smashed Nelson Stone’s 200m record and became the first PNG athlete to run under 21 seconds as he won his race in a stunning time of 20.97 seconds. What made the run even more remarkable was that Piniau had only 45 minutes earlier run a 400m race in 48.46secs. The performance catapulted Piniau ahead of Mowen Boino in the race for a spot on the team to Rio and means that Boino now has to run close to 51seconds in the 400m hurdles in his last race to better Piniau’s performance. Their last qualifying completion will be on Saturday (Sunday PNG time) in Coral Springs, Florida.

Meanwhile back in Lae Jacklyn Travertz set the third PNG national record of the long weekend when she threw the hammer 38.27 metres to improve on her own record by 1.04 metres. Peniel Richard recorded a triple jump of 15.41m which is 6cm over his national record but this mark is unlikely to be ratified as a national record due to the level of the sand in the pit. Richard was upstaged by Wesley Logorava in the long jump as the New Irelander won the event with a leap of 6.76m.  Other highlights of the competition included a stunning 400m hurdles run by 18 year old Ephraim Lerkin and close races in the mens 100m , 800m and 1500m events. Lerkin closed in on the 53.20 second  qualifying mark for the World Junior Championships with a huge personal best 53.39 seconds. The Utu Secondary Grade 12 student was also too strong for the other runners in the 400m and the future looks good for PNG with another exciting prospect in the wings. Emmanuel Wange who turns 17 later this year gave Lerkin a good race and clocked 49.38seconds for second place. Pre race favourite in the mens 1500m George Yamak came off second best as Oro’s Pacific Games Bronze medallist  Martin Orovo outkicked him to win the race in 4min and 6 seconds. It was the same story in the 800m where Orovo used his superior finishing speed to run away from the field in the last 100m. The mens 100m final was run in fading light on Sunday afternoon but that didn’t stop Nazmie Lee Marai from powering to the front in the final stages of the race in impressive style.  Marai used his trademark finishing burst to breeze past several athletes including Wisil who had led from the gun.

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