Men running on an athletics track

Sport Preview: Athletics

Perelaaroi Siaosi 7 | February 24, 2024
Athletics at Sol2023 will feature more competitors than ever before at a Pacific Games. Photos: Roland Setu and Perelaaroi Saiosi, Samoa 2019 Pacific Games News Service

Gear up, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for an action-packed week of athletics action at the Sol2023 Pacific Games from Monday 27 November to Saturday 2 December at Honiara’s National Stadium.

Sol2023, the biggest edition of the Pacific Games to date, will see a massive 400 athletes from 22 countries and territories take part in 29 track and field events.

This year’s meet promises to be one of the most competitive, with a host of athletes from 13 competing countries fresh from the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, and also hungry for medals in Honiara.

The Para component of athletics will also be the largest ever at a Pacific Games, with 50 athletes set to compete across the five medal events. These are 100m ambulant, 100m seated, shot put ambulant, shot put seated and javelin throw ambulant.

From the most popular track events – sprint, middle distance and long distance – to eye-catching field events, the Sol2023 athletics competition is set to draw thousands to the National Stadium for the week-long festivity.

Events across men’s and women’s include: 100 metres, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m, 100m hurdles (women), 110m hurdles (men), 400m hurdles, 3,000m steeplechase, 4x100m relays, 4x400m relays, half marathon, high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, shot put, discus throw, javelin throw, hammer throw, decathlon (men) and heptathlon (women).

The sprint events promise to attract plenty of attention, given the notable absence of the Pacific’s sprint king and queen – Fiji’s Banuve Tabakaucoro, who retired just before this Games, and Papua New Guinea’s Toea Wisil, who had a baby in September. Therefore, Sol2023 will see the crowning of a new sprint king and queen in the 100m and 200m.

In the middle and long-distance events, Solomon Islands’ Sharon Firisua, who also holds the 5000m Pacific Games record, is setting her sights on one final lap – with the aim of winning the title in front of her home crowd.

The men’s and women’s high jump also promise to be exciting spectacles, with competitors vying to break the event’s 44-year-old Games records for both men and women, set by New Caledonia’s Paul Poaniewa (2.21m) and Tahiti’s Daniele Guyonnet (1.80m).

“All athletics events will be eye-catching for the spectators with loud support, as many of these events are commonly followed by people in Honiara,” the Games Organising Committee (GOC)’s Athletics Sports Cluster Manager, Sarah Gale said.

She added that it will also be interesting to see how spectators react to events such as pole vault, which will be contested the first time in Solomon Islands.

The athletics action begins at 1pm on Monday with the women’s heptathlon 100m hurdles and men’s 400m hurdles.

Tickets are available for $30 and can be purchased at the National Stadium’s ticket booth.

Pacific Games News Service

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