Fiji’s flag bearer Naibili Vatunisolo did not look like a newbie as she anchored a new personal best in the Women’s Discus throw F42-44/61-64 on her way to picking up the bronze medal in her first Commonwealth Games outing in day seven of the 2022 edition in Birmingham, England this morning.
For someone who only just took up the event, Vatunisolo threw 23.70m in her third attempt, an achievement her coach Freddy Fatiaki said was well-deserved. in view of the hard work she committed to her training in the lead-up to the Games.
A “super-excited” Vatunisolo credited the support of her coach, family, and friends to push her through her competition which she described as tough and one she has picked up a lot of learnings from in the lead-up to next year’s Paralympic Games in France and the World Championship in Japan.
“We will see what we can do and where we stand,” Fatiaki said.
The duo is hopeful that their performance will inspire and encourage more women to take up a sport, to enjoy with a view to compete in similar international outings as well.
Meanwhile, on the tracks a few hours earlier, Fiji’s long-distance runner Yeshnil Karan ran 4 minutes and 4.22 seconds to finish 11th in the men’s 1500m.
It was not Karan’s best performance this year, but an exposure all the same for the former Tavua College who burst into the scene following his Coca-Cola Games gold medal win for the West-based school three years ago.
At the recent 2022 Pacific Games in the Northern Marianas in June, Karan clocked 3 minutes and 59.79 seconds, earning him his first Mini Games Gold medal, a few seconds slower than his personal best set a week earlier of 3 minutes 58.41 seconds at the pre-Oceania Championships in Australia.