Team Fiji athletics gold medal hauls Fiji up Mini-Games ranking

Fiji has moved up four places on the ranking to eighth, thanks to the athletics team’s medal-winning form as the Pacific Mini Games 2022 enters the second last day of competition.

Team Fiji amassed seven medals yesterday, three of them Gold medals, and heaps of personal bests, in a feat the Fiji Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee described as the best day for the national contingent in the competition by far.

Va’a’s Clayton Horsfall and Elenoa Vateitei began the medal haul for Team Fiji, picking up their second bronze and silver medals respectively in the Men’s and Women’s V1 Va’a Marathon race.

In athletics, Iosefo Rakesa or Sefo as he is popularly known, not only won Gold but also threw a new personal best of 36.93m in the final of the men’s javelin ambulant ambulatory. 2017 Mini-Games men’s high jump defending champion and Fiji’s record holder Malakai Kaiwalu secured the country’s second gold medal of the day after a close contest. Kaiwalu made his presence known from the start. He cleared the bar on first attempts at every height till PNG’s Karo Iga finally failed all three attempts at 1.97m, and Kaiwalu was declared the winner.

The men’s 4x100m relay team added Fiji’s third Gold medal. Tavua native Yeshnil Karan managed a third-place finish in a time of 15:37.15s, a new personal best, in the men’s 5000m final.

Fiji’s second bronze medal came in via Samuela Railoa in the final of the men’s 400m. Although finishing behind PNG’s Shandrick Tansi, the former PE teacher set a new season’s best of 48.59s.

In other results, Avikash Lal finished 10th overall in the men’s 5000m final in 17 minutes 11.67 seconds, Francis Kaiava finished fourth in the men’s high jump with a jump of 1.85m, Jimi Onitoro recorded 20.15m to finish fourth in the men’s Javelin Ambuland Ambulatory whilst Naibili Vatunisolo with a throw of 17.26m finished fourth in the women’s Javelin Ambulant Ambulatory event.

Fiji moved from 12th to 8th on the ranking with five Gold medals (four from athletics and one from weightlifter Apolonia Vaivai), 13 Silver, and 14 Bronze medals behind PNG in first, Tahiti second, Australia, Northern Marianas, Guam, New Caledonia and Samoa in seventh place.

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