Toea Wisil completed her build up for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics at the AAA Track and Field Championships in Bedford, England at the weekend. In the 100m final, Wisil was pipped on the line by Diani Walker of Birchfield Harriers after leading from the gun and had to settle for second place in a time of 11.49 secs. Coach Tony Fairweather said that Wisil ran well but just dipped too soon at the finish.In Sundays 200m the Pacific Games champion placed third in a time of 23.96 seconds.
Meanwhile, Ephraim Lerkin and Rellie Kaputin arrived in London on Sunday with coach Dior Lowry after a 34-hour journey from Nadi. Add to that a four-hour road trip from Suva and the PNG team would have had one of the longest trips of any participants at the Championships. Lerkin earned his place on the team by winning the 400m hurdles at the Oceania Championships and will compete in this event on August 6. Kaputin only learned ten days ago that the IAAF had accepted her nomination to take part in the long jump, as the process for field event athletes qualifying through Area Championships is more rigorous. “In field events, the area champions are not automatically accepted like in the sprints,” said APNG President Tony Green. “The IAAF technical delegates will say yes or no after considering the standard of the athlete against the rest of the athletes who have nominated for that event. Rellie has remained focused and stayed in Fiji after the Oceania Championships to prepare for the World Championships, as did Lerkin.”
The Championships get underway on Friday with Wisil swinging into action in round one of the 100m on Saturday at 11.45 local time (20:45 in PNG) and will be hopeful of progressing to Sunday evenings semi final . Lerkin will run the 400m hurdles round one on Sunday morning 11.05 local time and Kaputin’s long jump event is on August 9, following which Wisil will run again in the 200m heats. The sport of Athletics has a great tradition and very strong support in the UK and the London Olympic Stadium is expected to be packed for all sessions.Usain Bolt will run the final individual race of his illustrious career in the 100m on the night of 5 August, five years since he won Olympic Gold in the same stadium in what was then a world record 9.63 secs. He has chosen not to defend his 200m title in London and will only run the 100m and 4*100m relay.