TONGAN sprinter Siueni Filimone is ready to challenge Banuve Tabakaucoro in the 100m blue ribbon event tomorrow at the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna.
The 100m qualifications will be held today at the Kafika Stadium and the semi-finals and final will be held tomorrow.
Tabakaucoro is the top bet to win the event, however, Tongan athletics section manager Nehemaia Kakaufaka'atu'i believes his athlete has the goods to beat the defending champion.
Filimone was second to Tabakaucoro during the Oceania Championships in Tahiti in June and also ran his season's best of 10.79s at the World Championships in Moscow, Russia in August.
"He (Filimone) was second to Banuve in Tahiti and so he has been working hard since then," Kakaufaka'atu'i said.
"He improved on his time in Moscow and I think he ran a much faster time in training for the Mini Games last week.
"Since he will be competing tomorrow (today), we have advised him to rest today (yesterday) and focus on mental preparation for the race."
Kakaufaka'atu'i said Filimone, 19, had the potential to become the Pacific's fastest man if he trained with an international coach with international facilities.
"We are only limited by our facilities in Tonga but the boy (Filimone) has the heart and desire to run and he could become faster or maybe even the fastest in the Pacific if he gets better facilities to train with and some good competition."
Other runners who could pose a threat to Tabakaucoro and Filimone are the Papua New Guinean trio of Joe Matmat, Kapun Wisil and Solomon Susame.
PNG chef de mission Richard Emmanuel Arthur Kassman said the three were their fastest runners.
The 100m men's qualifications will be held at 2.45pm (Fiji time) today at the Kafika Stadium.