Fiji finishes third in Oceania battle

SUVA, 03 JULY 2017 (FIJI TIMES)--- Fiji finished third in the 2017 Oceania Athletics Championships which ended at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on Saturday.

Fiji bagged 17 gold medals, 18 silver and 22 bronze medals. Australia won the championships with 63 gold medals, 54 silver and 29 bronze medals.

New Zealand finished second with 34 gold medals, 22 silver and 20 bronze medals.

Fiji coach Albert Miller said the relay teams were the most impressive during the competition.

"Fiji has done well in the relays and winning the senior men's 4x400 metre relay was the highlight of the competition," he said.

"It shows the potential of our athletes and for some reason it came down to the relays and it indicated how much we love the relays. We hope we can continue from here and build up for the Pacific Mini Games.

"In the age-grade categories, our athlete dropped the baton in the last lap while we were leading. It happens and it was just the lack of practice and it was a learning curve form them to ensure they do not do it again."

Fiji's 4x400m relay team put up an impressive performance in the final winning with a time of 3:17.83 minutes ahead of Papua New Guinea with a time of 3:18.30m. The team was made up of Emosi Sukanaivalu, Kameli Sauduadua, Sailosi Tubuilagi and Samuela Railoa.

"It is all bout how we nature the talents of the young athletes and guiding them to make sure they reach their full potential. I hope the athletes have been encouraged from the competition."

Meanwhile, Athletics Fiji will give scholarships to five athletes to study in Fiji.

This was revealed by the Athletics Fiji president Joseph Rodan.

"We have identified a number of athletes and we will pick at least five of them and give them scholarships to help them in their schooling and sporting activities," he said.

"We are looking at the individual athletes.

"It will help them in their career where they can study and take part in athletics."

Rodan said they were satisfied with Fiji finishing third in the 2017 Oceania Athletics Championships considering the resources New Zealand and Australia have with them.

"The funds will range from $5000 to $10,000 for the scholarship per athlete," he added.

"It is a local scholarship.

"It is the funding which we got from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Amateur Athletics and it is for five people and we hope to expand with the Fiji National Sports Commission."....PACNEWS 


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