14 Jul 2015

Sport: Records fall as athletics begin at Pacific Games

7:20 am on 14 July 2015

The athletics programme is underway at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea, and several records have already fallen.

Pacific Games Papua New Guinea

The sun sets at the athletes village in Papua New Guinea at the 2015 Pacific Games. Photo: Lee Maoate-Cox

Solomon Islands long distance runner Sharon Firisua claimed gold in the 5000 metre race, and in doing so set a Pacific Games record with a time of 18 minutes and 20 seconds.

The race for the finish line was a close one, however, with three Papua New Guinea runners following seconds behind.

New Caledonia's Pascale Gacon also set a new Games mark in the pole vault with a jump of 3.7 metres, almost a full metre higher than any of her competitors.

Elsewhere, Leslie Copeland from Fiji won gold in the men's javelin, Sapolai Yao of Papua New Guinea did the same in the men's 3000 metre steeplechase, and Fiji's Miliki Tuivanuavou clinched gold in the women's shot put with a throw of almost 14.6 metres.

The Pacific Games medal tally shows hosts Papua New Guinea narrowly ahead of New Caledonia with 33 gold medals to 30.

Tahiti sits in third with 26 golds.

Today's programme is highlighted by finals in the men's and women's 100 and 800 metre races.