The Pacific Games on Wednesday welcomed a new men’s shot put secured throw champion, Vitoli Kavakava of New Caledonia, at the National Stadium in Honiara.
Kavakava, with an F57 classification, was the clear winner with the highest placing percentage from the furthest throw distance. His final distance of 12.58 meters secured a placing percentage of 82.43, gold, and the honour of having his flag raised and the national anthem played on the podium.
In the shot put secured throw category, Para athletes’ results are measured against their classification to determine their final placing percentage. A higher percentage closer to 100 indicates a better ranking and the highest ranked competitor at the end of the event is the winner.
Marcelin Walico, also from New Caledonia and the Samoa 2019 silver medallist in this event, shared the podium with Kavakava as the Sol2023 silver medallist with a throw distance of 10.00m which secured a placing percentage of 65.53 against his F57 classification.
The competition took place at the National Stadium over a period of four hours and was competitive and tense. However, speaking with the Pacific Games News Service, both New Caledonian athletes, who are professional athletes in this event in France, said that they were content with their performance and medals.
Kavakava said: “For me, this is new. It is my first time to compete for New Caledonia and I came here for the medal and I got it, so I’m happy. The medal represents all my training and what I endured during the training”.
Silver medallist Walico said: “I was going for second place. I trained for it and despite the heat I made a good finish.
“Both my colleague who won gold (Kavakava) and I are international level athletes in France and this is our last competition this season so we are happy. We will resume next year for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris,” he added.
Papua New Guinea made it onto the podium for bronze courtesy of Morea Mararos, who shook off two fouls and threw a final distance of 7.70m securing a placing percentage of 63.27 against his F34 classification.
Mararos said: “My morale was down after the two fouls but I had a moment to myself and came back hard in my last four attempts”.
By Melissa Velvel Fare, Pacific Games News Service