PNG’s top junior male Ephraim Lerkin

PNG’s top junior male Ephraim Lerkin



PNG’s top junior male athlete Ephraim Lerkin left for Canberra today to continue his quest for a qualifying performance for the IAAF World Junior Championships which  will be held in Poland from July 19 to 24. The Utu secondary school student has been making  waves in the 400m hurdles event since first coming to the attention of Athletics PNG at the 2014 National Championships in Kokopo.

Lerkin who is a finalist in the SP Sports Awards this year  for the National Performance Award hails from Simberi Island and attends Utu Secondary School where he is undertaking Grade 12 studies. “Due to school commitments and delays with processing travel documents Ephraim was not given the overseas competition opportunities he deserved last year and missed out on selection for the Pacific Games as a result” said Athletics PNG President Tony Green. That was despite an impressive performance at the 2014 PNG Games and finishing second at the 2015 National Championships.

“The 400m hurdles is a strong event for us and we still achieved a clean sweep at the Games but I think we owe it to Ephraim to give him every opportunity this year” concluded Green

Lerkin spent the last Christmas holiday break in full swing training for this season and clocked an impressive 54.03 seconds in Adelaide in February at the South Australian Championships, a programme funded by the National Gaming Control Board. He has now been invited by Athletics Australian along with Nazmie Lee Marai to join an Oceania Relay team in Townsville next weekend where Australia are trying to qualify their mens 4*100m relay team for the Olympics. For the Australian performance to be recognised, they have to run against international teams , and  a team made up of Pacific Island athletes meets this criteria. “So with Athletics Australia funding the travel to Townsville this was a great opportunity for us to get Ephraim to Canberra as well because there is a very good 400m hurdles race there on Saturday”, added Green

Australian Olympic hopeful Leigh Bennet is expected to run , as well as Gatkuath Chol a Brisbane based Sudanese athlete. With Mowen Boino also travelling for the Meet this should be a very good race for Lerkin who will then get another race in Townsville next weekend before heading to Lae for the PNG National Championships. Nazmie Lee Marai is also coming into good form and has been impressive in local competitions in Port Moresby this year, clocking a best time of 21.8secs in the 200m. He will have the chance to race with Pacific Sprint king Banuve Tabacaucoro in Townsville. The Fijian is getting back to the sort of form that saw him blitz the field in Port Moresby last year with an awesome 20.53seconds clocking into a headwind.Last weekend at the Taiwan Open he clocked times of 10.34 and 20.97 for the 100m and 200m respectively.


Athletics PNG

Tel: (712) 90002



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