A Para athlete throwing a javelin

Solomon Islands’ Vari wins gold in men’s shot put ambulant

0V8A2885 | July 7, 2024
A field of 14 Para athletes contested the men’s shot put ambulant. Photos: Peter Kofana, Pacific Games News Service

The host nation enjoyed a golden moment at the Sol2023 Pacific Games men’s shot put ambulant competition at Honiara’s National Stadium on Tuesday, when Floyd Luangi Vari won gold in front of his home crowd.

In the ambulant 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.

Vari threw a distance of 10.58 metres which secured a placing percentage of 96.09% based on his F40 classification and won him the gold medal at Sol2023.

Speaking to the Pacific Games News Service he said: “I feel excited, happy, and proud of this achievement and my country and very proud that I won this medal. This is my first time at the Pacific Games, and I have only been playing the sport of shot put for the last seven months.”

The gold medallist said that participating came with challenges, which he hopes will change in the future, with some investment.

“I want to say that, for this sport in particular, I would like to see the government invest more in it so that it can grow. When I was training, I struggled with bus fares and it was a challenge to get to training, to have food because I had no money but especially the bus fare because every day, I had to come to training at the Solomon Islands Institute of Sport (SINIS) and it was quite challenging,” he told the Pacific Games News Service.

Wallis and Futuna claimed both the silver and bronze medals courtesy of Soane Meissonnier and Manako Aveuki respectively.

Meissonnier had some of the biggest throws of the day however, due to the classification process, he was awarded the silver medal with his final throw distance of 15.39m which resulted in a placing percentage of 89.01% for his F20 classification.

Aveuki, who classes as F44, finished with a final throw of 11.95m and a final placing percentage of 75.96% for bronze.

The coach of the Wallis and Futuna shot put ambulant team spoke on behalf of the silver and bronze medallists to the Pacific Games News Service.

“We are very happy for the two of them. For Lucas (Meissonnier), we knew that his points are regulated at 15m but today he confirmed that he could have gone up to 16m to win gold, but we’re proud of both of them for these two medals for Wallis.”

The watching public was confused when Meissonnier did not receive gold on the podium, given his huge throws, but his coach explained that final results are calculated based on classifications.

“It’s a bit more special for people with disability because there is a scale to respect, and we did not know who would get the gold medal in the ranking until the end. We do the maths and then we know who’s leading the competition.

“Everyone already knew that the bronze medal was for us though.

“We are off to a good start and it’s a very good result for athletics,” he concluded.

By Melissa Velvel Fare, Helen Palmer and Jenabeth Sara, Pacific Games News Service

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