Fiji Time: 11:32 PM on Wednesday 24 January

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Petero wins gold

Pravin Narain
Friday, December 15, 2017

PETERO Veitaqomaki is a new kid on the block for Fiji after he surprised everyone to win a gold medal in the men's 1500 metres in the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila, Vanuatu yesterday.

Veitaqomaki, 17, approached the finish lane with a facial expression just like a hungry lion towards his prey finishing the race with a time of 4.19.10 minutes.

"I am proud to be representing Fiji and this is my first medal in my first Pacific Mini Games. The win was sweet," he said.

"I had won a gold medal in the Oceania Athletics Championship earlier this year and it is just the beginning of my career.

"I knew nothing was going to stop me from winning the gold for Fiji and my family had been my source of inspiration for me."

Veitaqomaki, originally from Lavena in Taveuni, and had been involved in long training for the past couple of months to prepare for his run.

After winning the 1500m race he later joined the 4x400m rely team which finished second in the competition.

"I run from Nabua to the ANZ Stadium every afternoon for 4x800 metres day just to build and strengthen me for the run where I run 6x400 metres and in the afternoon," the Sigatoka Methodist School student said.

"I come from a farming background back in Taveuni where my parents and I do dalo farming and I also work in the farm as well."

Athletics Fiji chief development officer Joseph Rodan Jr said Veitaqomaki had a long way to go in his career.

"We always knew he would win a gold medal. He is a good runner and he has a lot of speed," Rodan said.

"He is a new athlete and no one knew about him, but everyone comes to know him after his brilliant run."

Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu finished second and third respectively.

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