SPORTS NEWS IN BRIEF
Benfodda Nordine of New Caledonia won the first gold medal at the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna. He ran a time of 34.42.22 in the 10, 000m race which was held early yesterday morning. Second was Siosi Rosfelo of the Solomon Islands and third was Kaspar Simbai of Papua New Guinea. The other two runners of the race, one from Vanuatu and another from PNG collapsed mid-way in the race because of the morning heat and humidity.
Beach volleyball duo Epeli Ratabacaca and Qilu Elliot made the journey across to the island of Futuna yesterday. Although their competition starts on Thursday, the games venue is the only place that can offer them a training court. Coach Apenisa Saukuru said training was important and the boys had not been able to train since a day before their departure on Saturday.
Residents using roads in Hahake near the sports facility at Kafika will be in for traffic congestions. The island which barely sees traffic congestion had roads closed off and detour signs put up. According to organisers, this is something people of Wallis will need to adjust to during the 10 days of the games.
24 to depart
Twenty-four athletes will depart Wallis this Saturday as their events during the Pacific Mini Games will finish in the first week. These include javelin thrower Leslie Copeland, the weightlifting team, tae kwon do and some other track and field athletes. Fiji's chef de mission Alini Sovu said this departure would also help to house incoming athletes such as the Fiji sevens team who arrive on Saturday.
Fijians working and living in Wallis and Futuna will be putting their support behind Team Fiji whenever they can. Diver Aisake Lolobalavu said they had been working on the island for about six months now and the games would provide them an opportunity to mingle with other Fijians. He added they were looking forward to host the Fiji sevens team to either lunch or dinner.