USA Update - 12 April
A number of US based athletes are showing excellent form in the USA as the outdoor season begins. Leading the way is Sharon Toako who broke her own national record in the Javelin in the first meet of the season at Pueblo Co with a throw of 49.08metres, a performance that earned her the Athlete of the Week award for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
RMAC is a group of 16 Universities mostly from Colorado that compete against each other in a variety of sports. Toako showed consistency by throwing 48.49m the following weekend and also threatened the national record of 38.46m for the discus held by Iammo Launa with a 38.22metre throw.
New Mexico Highlands Teammate and fellow East New Britain Athlete Annie Topal is also in great form in the triple jump. The Pacific Games bronze medallist jumped a huge personal best of 12.98m in the last round her of competition at Albuquerque last weekend to cap off a great series of jumps including a wind aided 13.01m. Topal dominated the competition to such an extent that four of her six jumps were better than the second placed athlete and her 12.98 is the best mark so far this season in all of NCAA Division 2. The performance earned Topal the RMAC athlete of the week award for this week.
“Annie has clearly been working on her speed," said APNG President Tony Green and she will be a tremendous asset to the National Team this year.
“These awards show that our girls are really making an impression” Poro Gahekave is also continuing the great form she showed during the indoor season with a time of 4min 52 seconds in the 1500m last weekend followed up less than one hour later by a 2 :17 in the 800m.
The 25 year old was heading for a huge personal best in the steeplechase the previous weekend at Texas Tech when she mistimed her approach to the first hurdle on the last lap and went crashing to the ground. Though she completed the race in 11min 38 seconds, Gahekave was left to rue the missed opportunity to substantially improve her personal best of 11min 18sec and get within striking distance of Rama Kumilgo’s national record of 11min 10 secs set in the lead up to the 2015 Games.
PNG’s other middle distance runners in the USA Tuna Tine and Esther Boram are expected to travel to Hobbs this weekend for their first outside competition after running only time trials on their home track so far this season. Theo Piniau has also been in action for West Texas A&M and has run a wind aided 10.82 for 100m this season and a 21.70 last weekend in the 200m. Benjamin Aliel meanwhile has had a slow start to his first season in the USA with a best time so far of 50.10 in the 400m. An early season hamstring problem set him back a little and he is now trying to rediscover the form that won him the gold medal in the 2017 Games.