2017 NJCAA Indoor Nationals
Poro Gahekave had an outstanding weekend competing for South Plains College at the National Junior College Indoor track and field Championships in Pittsburg , Kansas. The 23 year old middle/long distance runner of mixed Eastern Highlands and New Ireland parentage had a tough schedule with five races in two days but the hard work she has put in during recent months enabled her to cope very well with the workload. First up was the distance medley relay on Saturday PNG time where Gahekave helped her team to third place, before qualifying for the 1000m final with a personal best 3min 03.42 seconds.
Sunday started with victory for the South Plains team in the 4*800m relay with a school record time. Gahekave then ran the one mile race and placed seventh in a personal best 5min 14.34 seconds. She then went on to finish sixth in the 1000m with a big personal best of 3min 00.92 seconds which is the fastest ever 1000m by a PNG athlete. “Competing like this at Nationals will give Poro a lot of confidence for the outdoor season” said APNG President Tony Green. “This time is faster than the Outdoor National record of 3:02.7 set by Rosemary Omundsen in the lead up to the 1994 Commonwealth Games and Poro appears set to shine in the outdoor season; he added.
Meanwhile Robson Yinambe was also in action representing Cloud County in the heptathlon where he improved in five of his seven events from his last competition on the weekend of February 17/18. His 4522 points total was an improvement of almost 250 points. “Robsons indoor season has been pretty good considering he went straight from PNG in January into competing in the US winter”, said Green. Wesley Logorava did not qualify to compete in his favourite 200m event but competed in relays and gained a wild card entry for the 400m where he clocked an impressive 50.22 seconds. Shirley Vunatup also participated in the Championships but was unable to replicate her good outdoor 400m from two weeks previously and clocked a disappointing 60.01 seconds.
Photos courtesy of Wesley Logorava and Poro Gahekave