Vanuatu’s Elie Enock had double celebrations at Honiara’s National Stadium on Thursday after winning her country’s third gold medal at the Sol2023 Pacific Games and earning herself a likely qualification for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games in the women’s shot put secured throw.
The Ni-Vanuatu athlete cheered enthusiastically as the technical official called out 7.84 meters, the distance Enock threw in her first attempt, calling out to her coach, “yes, I qualified!”, with excitement.
The qualifying distance for Paris 2024 is 7 metres, which Enock surpassed at Sol2023.
The throw of 7.84m secured a placing percentage of 70.25 per cent against her F57 classification, the highest in the event, and the gold medal winning performance at Sol2023.
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.
Enock told the Pacific Games News Service that two wishes came true – hers to qualify for the Paralympic Games, and her son’s wish for her to win a medal at Sol2023.
“It was my son’s wish for me to win gold. He sent me a short video telling me that he wished that I would win, so I had to push and try my best. I miss Vanuatu and I miss my son, but it motivates me to win this gold medal today,” she said.
“To tell you the truth, I am very excited because I trained hard for this, and I was looking forward to qualifying. I came here, my goal was to qualify and to do that I had to throw 7 metres which I did, so I am super excited,” she said ecstatically.
“This is one of my goals, I’ve been aiming for it, so I am just so happy and super excited. When I went out onto the field, I just wanted to do my best because I came here just wanting to qualify for the Paralympics next year.”
Enock who is currently working and living in Victoria, Australia under the Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme, has been training for the Pacific Games with the support of her employer. She told the Pacific Games News Service that with the Paris 2024 Paralympics now in the picture, she is expecting more training.
“I just need to train more. The training facilities that I have in Australia are more advanced than the ones in Vanuatu and I have received a lot of help with my training, and I know that I will receive more especially with gym and other training. I am also very happy and grateful that the company that I work for, which also sponsors me, has built me a training field and a seated frame that I can use to train with. I am very excited at the prospect of qualifying for Paris 2024 and I look forward to working hard for it.”
New Caledonia’s Anna Pipisega closed out her Pacific Games campaign as the silver medallist in the women’s shot put secured throw with a placing percentage of 63.68 per cent from her 5.77m throw against her F55 classification.
Speaking to the Pacific Games News Service, she said: “The shot put is not my main event, but I made an effort in it and came second with a silver medal. I am very happy, and I thank the supporters and my coaches, who spent a lot of time training me until today, who are all happy with the results.”
Rose Lidia from Solomon Islands made the podium for the bronze medal, her second this week in athletics, from her throw distance of 5.82m which resulted in a final placing percentage of 52.15 per cent against her F57 classification.
“I’m very happy. I represented our country (Solomon Islands) and I’m very happy that I can lift my country and my family and my community up,” Lidia told the Pacific Games News Service.
Noela Olo, the fourth and final competitor in this event, also from Solomon Islands, did not make the podium but finished with a final placing percentage of 45.34 per cent against her F57 classification from her 5.06m throw.
By Melissa Velvel Fare, Pacific Games News Service