Salome Dell’s Winning Streak

Salome Dell’s Winning Streak

Salome, who hails from the Eastern Highlands Province has been our most successful middle-distance athlete ever.

She was discovered by Sean Synott,  who was coaching athletes at Ukarumpa High School in the Aiyura Valley. Once Salome came to the attention of Athletics PNG she was given wonderful opportunities to develop her talent and then repay her country with a large collection of gold medals.

Salome first represented PNG at the 2004 Oceania Championships in Townsville. Ultimately she would go on to win nine individual Oceania gold medals, the most memorable being her four titles at Saipan in 2008 (400m, 800m, 1500m and 3km Cross Country).

In 2005 she won the gold medal for the 800m at the Mini South Pacific Games in Palau in the time of 2:21.83.

It was at the South Pacific Games in 2007 (Apia) and 2011 (Noumea), however, that she made her greatest contribution to PNG Athletics. By now she was unbeatable in the Pacific Islands.

In the Apia SPG she won the gold for the 800m in 2:12.98 seconds and completed the winning double in the 1500m (5:00.28). She was the third runner in the PNG 4 x 400m Relay Team, which won the gold medal in 3:40.55 – at the time a new National Record.

Four years later, she was still in good form and again took the middle distance double with gold medals in the 800m (2:13.21) and the 1500m (4:52.70). In the 4 x 400m Relay Salome was the lead runner for the team that took the gold medal in the time of 3:45.32.

Overall Salome was a member of the 4 x 400m Relay Team in eight of the fastest ten times ever recorded by our women. Though she never won a gold medal for the 400m she was at one stage our National Record Holder with a time of 54.08 in 2010.

Salome represented PNG at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in 2009, and numerous major Australian and Asian competitions, but came up with her greatest ever performance at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India. It was here that she improved her National Record and South Pacific Bestfor the 800m with a stunning time of 2:03.53 – to put the record out of sight for many years. It was her crowning achievement.

She also was a member of the National Record breaking 4 x 400m Relay Team that recorded the time of 3:40.40 – a record that still stands. Salome’s contribution was vital to the success of the team.

In the PNG All Time Best Lists Salome has made a real impact.

In the 400m she is ranked at #3 with her time of 54.08 in Brisbane in 2010. At the time it was the National Record.

In the 800m she totally dominates having the fastest 30 performances of the top 33 times on the list. Her NR of 2:03.53 seems to be in another world when compared to current Pacific Islands’ competitors.

In the 1500m she broke Rosemary Turare-Omundsen’s National Record in 2008 and then improved on it twice more, establishing it at 4:27.77, and now holds 12 of the 13 fastest times ever recorded by a PNG athlete.


In addition Salome is the NR holder for the 600m and the Mile.

After the 2011 Noumea Pacific Games, Salome continued to run for another year, but her stellar representative career was winding down now. We can all look back on her impressive contribution to Athletics in PNG – a total of six gold medals in Pacific Games competition and another two in Mini Games competition.

Her 800m National Record, and South Pacific Best performance, is however, her most significant achievement.


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