The women’s 5000m race saw a new champion at the Sol2023 Pacific Games with Tania Tan of Northern Mariana Islands securing gold medal with an impressive time of 18 minutes and 8.69 seconds, setting a new Pacific Games record in the process.
The 21-year-old Fordham University senior eradicated Solomon Islands’ Sharon Firisua’s record of 18:20.09, which was set at Port Moresby 2015.
“I feel tired, but super happy and grateful,” she told the Pacific Games News Service. “Last year when I raced a 10k (10,000m) I literally collapsed on the ground and didn’t even finish it. But I still wanted to run the 5k as I did back at home in Saipan. So here I just pushed myself to run even though I ended up in the emergency room afterwards (last time).
“I came here for it so I told myself ‘at least this year I will finish the race’. I just gave my best, you have nothing to lose because last year I didn’t even finish, so I’m super cool and happy tonight,” said the ever-smiling Tania.
The race also witnessed a fierce battle for second place with Scholastica Herman, a 20-year-old rising talent from Papua New Guinea, clocking in at 18:38.93 to claim the silver medal. Herman’s exceptional performance showcased her ability on the track.
Securing the bronze medal was Deborah Kaboer of New Caledonia, who displayed remarkable stamina and determination, crossing the finish line with a time of 19:03.46, adding to the diversity of medalists in this highly competitive event.
Not far behind, 31-year-old Hortense Happey from New Caledonia, narrowly missed the podium, finishing in fourth place with a time of 19:08.33
The Women’s 5000-meter event not only showcased the incredible talent of Tan Tania but also highlighted the fierce competition among the athletes from different regions.
Each participant demonstrated dedication, skill, and a strong spirit of sportsmanship, contributing to the overall excitement of the event. Congratulations to all the athletes on their outstanding performances in this memorable competition.
Home crowd favourite Firisua did not finish the race and complained that she felt dizzy because of a lack of rest in preparation for the event, but is expected to race again in the women’s 10,000m on Wednesday.
By Peter Psalm and Steven Kamoa, Pacific Games News Service