Comm Games Team Athletics
Athletics will be represented by three female and eight male athletes at the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in April. Triple Gold Medallist from the 2015 Pacific Games Rellie Kaputin will contest the long jump and triple jump whereas young Afure Adah will run the 100m and 200m sprints. Adrine Monagi will run the 100m hurdles event in which she has recently shown good form, improving her personal best to 13.89 seconds. Nazmie Lee Marai who won the 100m and 200m at the recent Pacific Mini Games will also run these two events along with his teammate Wesley Logorava. National 200m record holder Theo Piniau will run only the 200m and young Ephraim Lerkin will contest the 400m and 400m hurdles. Thirty-eight year old Mowen Boino will be competing in his fifth Commonwealth Games and will also run the 400m hurdles, an event in which he has been unbeaten in Pacific Games competition since 1999. Para-athlete Samuel Nason has been granted a universality place and will run the 100m in the T47 class.
PNG’s two field event athletes in the men’s division are Peniel Richard and Debono Paraka. Richard is the National Record holder in both long jump and triple jump and will contest both of these events at the Games. Paraka will compete in both discus and shot put and recently improved his own National discus record to 51.00 metres. He and coach Brett Green are confident that he can between now and the Games further improve on this as well as improve his shot put record. Head Coach for the team is Phillip Newton who steered the PNG Jumps and combined event athletes to 5 gold 4 silver and 5 bronze medals at the 2015 Pacific Games. Samuel Nason’s coach Wilson Malana will be the assistant coach and Nola Peni the Team Manageress.
Rellie Kaputin and Afure Adah have both been showing good form in the indoor season in the USA and they will meet up at the NCAA Division 2 Indoor National Championships next week in Pittsburg Kansas. Kaputin has a seasons best of 6.20m in the long jump and 12.93m in the triple jump compared to her personal bests indoors of 6.27m and 13.09 respectively. She has an enviable record as a big meet performer and will be determined to finish her career at West Texas A&M next week on a high. Adah has also shown great form this year in the 200m and 400m indoors with significant personal bests of 24.57sec and 56.57secs respectively. Adrine Monagi has been training at the Gold Coast since August last year and switched her focus from the heptathlon to the 100m hurdles and the sprint events.She clocked a very impressive 13.89 seconds for the 100m hurdles at the Australian championships recently and just missed out by one place on progressing to the final.
Peniel Richard and Debono Paraka have both been at the Gold Coast since November last year in preparation for the Commonwealth Games. Richard broke his own national triple jump record at the Pacific Mini Games with 15.45m and is hoping to improve on that further in the lead up to the Games as he prepares with Coach Phillip Newton. Paraka is training very well with coach Brett Green at Griffith University and appears set to deliver some big throws over the next few weeks. Nazmie Lee Marai won the sprint double at the Mini Pacific Games and is now in Birmingham (UK) for the World Indoor Championships where he will run the 60m sprint. Theo Piniau has a seasons best time of 21.30 secs for the 200m and will focus on this event at the Games. Both Marai and Piniau have been at the Gold Coast since late 2016 with Marai funded under an IAAF scholarship and Piniau with PNG Olympic Committee support. Ephraim Lerkin undertook his training preparations at NSI Goroka and joined Peniel Richard two weeks ago under Coach Newton’s supervision. He will have his first race this weekend at the Victorian Championships in Melbourne. Mowen Boino hit the ground running when he joined Piniau, Marai and Paraka at the Oceania House two weeks ago, making the final at the Australian Nationals and finishing fifth with a very impressive 52.07 seconds clocking in the 400m hurdles. He will travel to Melbourne with Lerkin today (Friday) for the Victorian Championships. Wesley Logorava is another athlete coming into good form as the Games approach. The New Irelander has put behind him the disappointment of pulling up with a groin strain in the 100m final in Port Vila to recover well and has run personal best times in both the 60m and 200m sprints indoors recently. Samuel Nason is expected to head up to Goroka shortly to join the athletics PNG training programme at the National Sports Institute for his final preparations before heading to Brisbane at the end of March.