Team for Samoa.
SURPRISINGLY TOUGH DECISIONS !
In making our final choice of athletes to travel to Apia, Samoa, for the OAA Open and Under-18 Championships from Dec. 13-16, we went through our list of possibles with a minimum of discussion, to sort out the first ten. But we are planning to take twelve athletes, and we had to decide on the last two BY TODAY ! One of the problems was the effect of public exams. on the likely people ! A few have managed to study and keep on training but several of the squad have prioritised studies. Anyway, we decided !
THE FINAL SELECTION - subject to injury, etc.
The following is our team:-
1. Harry HIGHLAND. He is currently training at the HPTC in New Zealand. He will first go to the Grand Prix meetings in Suva. In Samoa he will contest the Open 100m., LJ. and TJ.
2. Tekooki TEIEKA. He is the athlete representative on the KAA Executive Committee. He too will go to the Grand Prix. In Samoa he will run Open Cross-Country (6km.), maybe recalling his World Cross-Country experience in Portugal in 2000 ! Then he will take part in the Open 800m., and 1500m.
3. Beteru ATERI. An international gold medallist, he has concentrated on Hurdles. Another Grand Prix contestant. In Samoa he will add Open High Jump to his Grand Prix events of 110m. Hurdles and 400m. Hurdles.
4. Tanroo TANIERA. Under-18, but one of our fastest. He is also going to the Grand Prix, at our request, to give him more opportunities to run a qualifying time for the 100m. with a view to the World Youth Championships in Ostrava next year. If he manages the time (11.45 electronic) he will be our first automatic qualifier. He will also run 200m. In Samoa he will join others for the Open 4 x 100m. Relay.
5. Rabangaki NAWAI. Our best all-rounder, an international Multi-Events gold medallist. He is working hard at the various disciplines. It will be interesting to see how he fares in Oceania. He will compete in the Open Octathlon, plus probably the 200m., Discus and sprint Relay.
6. Tim NATUA. Another 1990-born sprinter who clocked his 100m. PB in Beijing at the World Junior Championships. He has been entered for 100m., 200m., and 400m. He will also be in the sprint Relay squad.
7. Mariuti UAN. A senior sprinter with high-level international experience. He will try to improve on his Melbourne performances. His events will be 100m., 200m., and the Relay.
8. Tiim ROMATOA. One of Senior throwers, a double silver medallist from Saipan earlier this year. Current National Record-holder for Discus (37.85m.), he will "throw the plate" and "push the weight". He competed in the Shot as a Youth in Guam.
9. Bonea TOKATAAKE. A good all-round Youth thrower, he is still learning so his technique os inconsistent. Nevertheless at his best he might surprise a few ! His main event is Discus but he is also attempting the Shot and Javelin.
10. Kimaia DAN MURDOCH. Our best all-round female athlete. She is an experienced traveller and multiple medallist. She has not been able to give enough time to training but hopefully will manage more intensive work before departure to Samoa. Her strengths this time are likely to be the field events.
11. Banrenga BAIKIA. At the age of 13, she managed to win two silver medals in OAA competition ! Now she is still Youth age and will use her experience in 800m., 1500m., and 3000m. events in Samoa.
12. Lilly (DAVID) PINE. Mature but still a Youth ! She is one of hardest workers in training, with a very distinctive running action to suit her long body and short legs ! Being realistic, she will sprint 100m. but concentrate on LJ and TJ.
The COACHES will be Tierata TAUKABAN as the main coach, but with the assistance of Rianimarewe BETERO (who has been appointed as the Squad Coach for the Grand Prix) and David LITTLE who will be also attending the OACA Congress as its Vice-President.
The Grand Prix will take place in Suva on Dec. 9th. and 11th. The GP Squad then moves to Samoa. We hope to be in Samoa by Saturday, Dec. 9th., which should allow us to become acclimatised and settled. Then we will see !