Loan Ville from New Caledonia secured the gold medal in the women’s 400m hurdles at the Sol2023 Pacific Games, held at Honiara’s National Stadium on Friday under the scorching midday sun.
Ville, at the young age of 20, notched an impressive winning time of 57.26 seconds, affirming her status as a rising star in the world of athletics. This marked Ville’s second appearance at the Pacific Games and she did not disappoint her team and country, crossing the finish line with a commanding lead to claim the gold.
Expressing her joy, Ville acknowledged the instrumental role her coaches played in her success. “I’m very happy with this gold medal, and I thank all my coaches for helping me train and gain more experience. It’s thanks to them that today I won gold medal,” she said, highlighting the importance of mentorship and guidance in her athletic journey.
The challenging conditions at Honiara’s National Stadium, with the sun beating down relentlessly, added an extra layer of complexity to the competition. Ville, however, demonstrated not just physical prowess but mental resilience as well.
“Here, the sun is very hot, but I tried to maintain my position until the end,” she added, showcasing her determination to overcome external challenges.
Australia’s Isabelle Guthrie, who secured the silver medal with a commendable time of 57.77 seconds, spoke highly of the competition.
“It was pretty good, running with such a good competitor. I raced her at Brisbane’s nationals, so it’s good to see her here. She ran really well,” said Guthrie.
Expressing a mix of satisfaction and disappointment, she continued: “I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t get first, but I came away with a personal best, which was really good”.
Commenting on the challenging heat, Guthrie added: “It’s unbearable, but it’s nice to run when it’s a bit warmer, it gets your muscles moving”.
Tahiti’s Hereiti Bernardino claimed bronze with a time of 64.02 seconds.
By Lamantha Lano and Junior Sisima, Pacific Games News Service