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Ten Minutes with Theo Piniau

Ten Minutes with Theo Piniau

Theo Piniau

Papua New Guinea 200m National Record Holder
Olympian ( 2016 Rio)


 What age were you when you started your athletics? And How did you start
I started athletics at the age of 19, soccer was always my first love. My father convinced me that I was very fast for a soccer player and should try athletics. I decided to try the 400 in my last year of high school. I surprised myself at the results that I was producing in competition compared to all other trained athletes, I wasn’t great but I knew I could run faster. Since then I have shied a bit from soccer and committed fully to the athletics.

 What do you most enjoy about athletics?
Athletics is an Individual sport that allows you to connect with others that are interested in the sport. I like the fact that athletics is a competitive but also a social sport. It provides a sense of community for those who participate. I have travelled, studied overseas, created a wider network of friends all through running.

What is the best part about competing?
Walking away with my head held high cause I’ve just run a personal best time or knowing that I executed my race the way I wanted to.

What have been your major highlights/achievements in athletics?
Being crowned National 400m Champion, Oceania Champion 400m, representing PNG in the Commonwealth Games and 2016 Rio Olympic as well as being the first man in my country to break 21secs in the 200m, which is now a National Record.

 List your current personal best in each event and where

  • 100m – 10.65 Glynis Nunn Shield, Brisbane 2017
  • 200m – 20.97 Jacksonville, Florida USA 2016
  • 400m – 47.68 Mesa, Arizona USA 2014

What is your best athletics quality?
My versatility and athleticism are my best qualities. My body can handle any sort of session on track as long as I am injury free.

What do you like and dislike about training?
I love my training as much as I love winning. Hitting good times in training boosts my confidence going into competition.

I don’t like injuries. It is frustrating trying to work around my sessions when I’m injured.

Who is your favourite athlete or sportsman/woman of all time and why?
Jeremy Wariner is one of my all-time favourite athletes. Although I have a few people I really like, I choose him because it amazes me how he runs a 400m, always smooth and effortless. He won USA trials and Athens Olympics at the age of 20, that’s impressive for someone that young.

If you could play another sport what would it be?
I would play soccer because it was what I had player prior to athletics.

What is the greatest thing you’ve witnessed in an athletics stadium?
Watching the mens 400m world record fall at the Rio Olympics by Wayde Van Niekerk.

He left everything on the track that night. The roar at the stadium was so loud once he crossed the finishing line, it grew even louder after he was announced that he had broken the World Record. Moments like that doesn’t come very often as records, I was lucky to be there to witness a historical event happen. Wayde is a phenomenal athlete.

What are some of your medium/short term goals? (Within the next year or so)
My goals are to run pbs in 100,200 and 400m as well as gain sponsorship.

What is the funniest thing you’ve seen on track?
During a comp a Steeple chase athlete stopped before the steeple, took a few steps back, ran towards the steeple but barely made it over and ending up in the water. After all that effort of taking few steps, still didn’t make it over. I couldn’t hold myself together after seeing that.

 What is your favourite song to listen to prior to competing?
Dominion – R. Armando Morabit

photo credit: Jason Pini