Female Sprinters Invites to Queensland Track Classic
Sprinters Donna Koniel , Venessa Waro , Shirley Vunatup and Pauline Kupai head to Brisbane today (Friday) at the invitation of Athletics Australia to run the 4*100m and 4*400m relays at the Queensland Track Classic on Saturday evening. The invitation presents a good opportunity for the girls , said Athletics PNG President Tony Green not only to experience being part of a big Meet , but to compete at the Queensland State Championships which will be held over three evenings from Tuesday to Thursday next week.
When twenty one year old Kupai from Buin steps on the track on Saturday she will become the first PNG representative athlete to come out of North Solomons Province since before the Bouganville Crisis. Pauline made the final of the 200m at the PNG Games where she finished 5th behind Waro , Vunatup , Helen Philemon and another promising youngster Tehila Womola of ENB. She was asked to stay back after the Games to train with the ENB girls and has made rapid progress. “Pauline is very strong and is looking like a good prospect in the 400m said Coach and 1991 SP Games 400m Gold Medallist Subul Babo . Kupai’s chance to represent her country has come sooner than expected, with the unavailability this week of some of the more established athletes.
The Queensland Classic is one of the five big meets during the Australian season and Toea Wisil will run the individual 100m and 200m. Wisil could start favourite in both races as it is understood that Australia’s top two sprinters Sally Pearson and Melissa Breen are both sidelined with injuries. “Toea is coming into good form after a slow start to the season , clocking impressive times of 11.76 and 23.86 last weekend” said Green. Meanwhile back in PNG the domestic season gets underway on Easter Sunday and Monday in Lae with the Momase Championships and Athletics PNG Selection Trials , followed by selection trials in Kokopo on April 6 for the NGI Region.