London up-date

ATHLETICS.

Ms. Kaingaue David competed on Day 1 of the Athletics at London 2012..   She ran in Race 1 (of four Races) in the Preliminaries of the W100m.   She seemed unsurprisingly over-awed by the occasion, cursorily setting her blocks but scarcely testing her settings.   Her reaction to the start (0.169 sec.) was second-quickest in her race and a great improvement on her previous overseas experience.   She ran, as all I-Kiribati do, bravely and with determination.   She was credited with a PB of 13.61 secs.   (Wind +0.9)   This ranked her 8th. of the eight in her race, 8th. of the nine Oceania girls in the W100m., and 29th. out of 33 overall.   (Images of Kaingaue at a Welcome Party, and the finish of her 100m. race on Aug. 3rd.)   The fastest qualifier from this round was an Oceania athlete from Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 11.60 secs.

Mr. Nooa Takooa competed on Athletics Day 2.   He ran in Race 4 (of four Races) in the M100m. Preliminaries (which have now been included as a qualifying round before the Heats proper).     He appeared to be confident and focussed.   He took time to set his blocks correctly and tested them thoroughly several times.   His start was quick, reacting in 0.155 sec. which was second-fastest in his Race.   He finished 7th. of the eight runners in a credited PB of 11.53 secs.  (wind +0.5).   This ranked him 6th. out of the nine Oceania men and 25th. out of 29 overall.   (Images of Nooa at the Party , and the start of his 100m. race.)   The fastest qualifier from this round was a Burmese runner timed at 10.42 secs.

As can be seen from the images, even at 10.00 in the morning, the Olympic Stadium was nearly full with 80,000 people and produced a volume of supporting noise unlike any previous experience.   For certain, these two athletes will remember coming to London in 2012 !

It has been suggested elsewhere that better facilities, diet, training, or coaching might bring about a dramatic improvement in Track standards in Kiribati.   This neglects a consideration of the basic physique and build of the Kiribati indigenous people.   The majority of the more successful I-Kiribati athletes have had a genetic mix with an I-Matang (white European) influence sometimes making them taller, slimmer, and with a different skeletal structure and musculature.   (See image of runners at Bairiki Stadium with Derin Pendle - the eventual winner - being a head taller than the rest.)

WEIGHT-LIFTING.

28-year-old David Katoatau came to London after nearly two years of training on Olympic Scholarship in New Caledonia with coach, Paul Coffa.   He became the Commonwealth champion in the 94 kg. class at the Oceania Qualifying Tournament in Samoa in June and thus was well-prepared.

In the competition at the Excel Arena on Sat. Aug. 4th., David started with a successful Snatch of 135 kg. and then managed an improvement to 140 kg. at his final (third) attempt.   In the Clean and Jerk section his first lift was good at 185 kg. but he then failed to improve to 190 kg.   Thus his final total was 325 kg.    This was below his submitted Entry Total of 340 kg.   It placed him 8th. of the eleven lifters in Group B.   (Images of David at the Party plus his first Snatch, and the Clean part of the Clean and Jerk.)

The arena was not full but the audience was very appreciative of the efforts of all the lifters.   It will have been a brilliant experience.

DL




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