25 Jun 2014

Sport: Last chance for Pacific athletes to impress

7:28 am on 25 June 2014

The Oceania Athletics Championships get underway in Rarotonga on Tuesday local time, in the final major hitout before next month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

A number of the region's top competitors will be in action on day one, including sprint stars Banuve Tabakaucoro from Fiji and Toea Wisil from Papua New Guinea.

The Executive Director of the Oceania Athletics Association, Yvonne Mullins, says there is plenty of competition to look forward to.

"He's got a PB of 10.33 - just pipped at the post in Australia at the Australia Championships - but he's going to be strong. Then we head to the women's: Toea Wisil who is ranked the number one Pacific Island athlete in the 100m and the 200m, and she will be up against Younis Bese from Fiji. Certainly the local girl Patricia Taea, who's going to be trying very hard to be up in the medals and Lovelite Detenamo from Nauru".

The championships will also be a chance to honour the memory of the New Zealand racewalker Lesley Cantwell and Fijian hurdler Roy Ravana Junior.

Cantwell suffered a brain hemorrhage after winning the 5000 metres walk during last year's Championships in Tahiti, and later died in hospital, while Ravana Junior was killed in a shooting incident in the United States last month.

The Lesley Cantwell Memorial Trophy will be presented this year for all of the racewalks, in her memory and Yvonne Mullins says the pair are still very much in everyone's thoughts.