Kiribati in Delhi.


When they left nearly three weeks ago, we had hopes, not of medals, but of Personal Bests and maybe even National Records.   Of course there were the rumours of bad conditions, and there has been some sickness.   But the one who has made most progress and justified his inclusion and entries has been sprinter George Pine.


When the original selection (sprinter-jumper David Birati) took himself out of the reckoning, not wishing to miss three weeks of school at a crucial (exam) time, we considered substitutes.   George was one, partly to cover the Long Jump.   As it turned out, his wish to take on both short sprints, plus his determination (with the help of coach Brian Fukuyama) in training, prepared him to make big advances in both events.

In the 100m. he started well (0.17) and produced a time of 11.28, the second-fastest electronic time by an I-Kiribati male athlete.   Then in the 200m. he started even faster (0.16) and set a new PB of 22.95, again the second-fastest-ever on the rankings.


By contrast the field event results were disappointing, considering the time and quality of the preparation for them.   George in the Long Jump could manage only 5.88m. then sensibly stopped to save himself for the 200m. Heats next day.

Raobu Tarawa missed the Shot event by committing the classic sin of leaving his numbers on his bed at the Village !   He had hopes of a National Record in that.    Then in the Discus, although doing three legal throws, his best was 40.01m.   Again he had hoped to throw further than his National Record.

Finally, Boitu Baiteke - who had been training regularly and enthusiastically for months, could not get close to his best form in the LJ, managing only 6.04m.   He performed better in the TJ, clearing 13.29m. and overall will have gained from this experience.   His presence in Delhi will also act as an incentive to others that diligent work in training might get you on the plane, partly as a reward.


Thanks are also due to Mr. Kaeka Temoai who accompanied the athletes as coach and manager.   He too will have gained from his first overseas assignment !

They are all due back on Tuesday (Oct. 19).


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