10-strong Pacific team for World Indoor Athletics Champs
Two Olympians headline a ten-strong Pacific contingent for World Indoor Athletics Championships.
Two Olympians headline a ten-strong Pacific contingent competing at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Poland this weekend.
Sprinters Patricia Taea from the Cook Islands and Lovelite Detenamo from Nauru attended the last World Indoors in Turkey two years ago, before competing at the 2012 London Olympics.
The Executive Director of the Oceania Athletics Association, Yvonne Mullins, told Vinnie Wylie this year's meet is a big opportunity, especially for the newcomers.
YVONNE MULLINS: It's a long way from home. The weather's a lot different from what it would be in their own federations, obviously, and for many of them it will be the first time they've ever had the opportunity to compete in an indoor arena. It's one that a lot of the best athletes in the world go to [and] for many of them the 100m runners they will head over there and they will do the 60m or in the case of Sally Pearson she'll do the 60m hurdles and she will be up against Sharon Kwarula from Papua New Guinea, who has been competing very well in the US circuit this year, and it will be a good hit-out for all of our athletes before they head off to our Oceania Championships in the Cook Islands in June this year.
VINNIE WYLIE: In terms of these athletes, have any of them qualified directly or I know each country is entitled to have one participant - are most of them through on that regards?
YM: No, these athletes they're under the universality rule so every federation has one athlete that will attend but that doesn't mean that they're not up to the standard because, for many of them, they've not competed in a 60m before. A lot of these athletes competed at the Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna last year which for a couple of them was their best and their first hit-out: Siologa Viliamu from Samoa won the 400m over at Wallis and Futuna last year - probably came out of nowhere people would say - and he's headed off to the World Indoors this year to do the 400m where the others are mostly doing the 60m and Sharon, as I said before, the 60m hurdles. He will be out there trying to run two laps of the indoor arena which will be quite different for him.
VW: And Yvonne, what sort of expectations do we have on some of these athletes in terms of performances. Are we looking at personal bests or are there some that you think can surprise a few people and out a strong finish in there?
YM: Look I think we'd all be looking for some personal bests, obviously, but most of all we try and look for national records so we can see that there's a whole lot of development going on in their federations. American Samoa and Samoa have certainly improved over the last few years and where they were lagging behind in some of the sprint events as of late they've really come to the fore again and we're pleased to see them there. Papua New Guinea [have] strong development plans for their athletics and they're doing well.
The girls from Nauru and Cook Islands have lowered their national records over and over over the last 12 months so we will be looking for some good performances from them. Then of course we've got the Micronesian athletes from Guam, Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands, we hope that they'll be able to come out and have some good performances as well. We think all in all national records and personal bests - I'm not convinced we're going to get anybody through to the finals but of course we will be hoping our golden girls, Sally Pearson and Valerie Adams, will do that for the Oceania region.
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