At least one medal each !
Our podium places continued during the two sessions on Day 2 - Saturday, Dec. 15th. - at the M.A.C. in Guam.
The Discus was contested in the morning with Rabangaki Nawai producing an excellent 35m. + series with a PB of 35.72m. to take gold. This was a sign of his outstanding contribution during the rest of the day.
Our first track event on Day 2 was the sprint Hurdles and Beteru Ateri showed superior technique to take first place in 17.82. The Heats of the 200m. brought a victory for Ieie Matang in 23.67 - an electronic PB - but in the Final he placed 5th. with 23.99. Tanroo Taniera was disappointed with his slow start and weak finish in 24.59.
In the 400m., Tearoba Takeruru went with the fast pace and held on well to finish second in 52.73 to the winner JJ Capelle of Nauru in 52.30.
Rabangaki managed 11.33m. for 2nd. place in the Shot, then participated with Buraieta Yeeting - a double jumps winner yesterday - in a tense Long Jump competition. At one point the pair were lying 2nd. and 3rd. to Deamo of Nauru. However they managed to pull out excellent jumps in the later stages for Rabangaki to finish first with a PB of 6.62m. and Buraieta to take the silver medal by just 2 cm. with 6.35m.
CAPPED BY THE RELAYS !
And so to the Relays. In the 4 x 100, a fast start by Tearoba was followed by a fair change and a holding leg by Tanroo, not affected by his earlier disappointment. A good change to Rabangaki encouraged him to run a storming bend and another smooth change left Ieie to finish with confidence and take the team to GOLD in a new National Record of 44.14. They still have a target of sub-44 some time up ahead !!
The 4 x 400 was a thrilling race with the lead changing hands several times. Beteru set the team moving with another determined effort, followed by a similar run from Ieie. This kept us in contention. Rabangaki used up the last of his energy for the day in pulling the team up to second at the final change. Then it was up to Tearoba to show all his fitness and fighting qualities to beat off a final challenge from Palau to WIN by about four metres ! In the circumstances this was an outstanding achievement and a reward for the hours of preparation and practice. Their time was 3-38.11.
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL SORTIE INTO MICRONESIA !
A summary of the successes shows:- seven First places, five Second places, one Third place, two Fifth places and one Sixth place. The only disppointments were the rankings at 9th. in the 100m. - narrowly failing to qualify - and 13th. in the 200m. by Tanroo. The Relay National Record plus four PBs were bonuses.
PROUD TO RECEIVE GOOD COMMENTS.
We are grateful to Oceania AA for providing the funds to get the team to Guam, and to the Guam LOC - in particular Bea and Frank - for their arrangements. A Kiribati gift was handed to Bea to show our appreciation.
We were pleased and proud to receive congratulatory comments on the quality and "sharpness" of the squad.
Following some closing remarks, we received our best meal so far - to dine al fresco with the other teams at the track - and we also received the generosity e.g. from the FSM team who had made provision of traditional food and soft drinks !
A LITTLE MORE HISTORY !
This was the first Kiribati Athletics team to travel overseas with the majority of the members having left school. Such a step forward into maturity was one of the most encouraging, but less tangible, benefits from this trip. As was mentioned in our informal team meeting this morning, this group is now the nucleus of an ageing team on which the future of KAA will be built. Their success, built on years of hard training and technical practice, is a model of what CAN be achieved.