Papua New Guinea’s sprinters sent the home crowd into raptures as they claimed all six 400 metres Pacific Games medals by sweeping the podium in both the men’s and women’s events to round off the third evening of athletics finals here in style.
In front of a packed-out Stadium, 100m sprint queen Toea Wisil secured the women’s honours in a time of 54.17sec ahead of compatriots Donna Koniel and Betty Burua.
The unexpected victory for Wisil, more of a specialist in the shorter sprint events, proved to be the prelude for yet more success for Papua New Guinea as defending champion Nelson Stone powered home in the men’s race in 47.56.
Team-mates Theo Piniau and Kaminiel Matlaun ensured another perfect event for the hosts, securing the last two podium spots as the vociferous support inside the Stadium celebrated the performances of their athletes.
It was also an excellent night for Solomon Islands' Sharon Firisua, who added the women’s 10,000m crown to the 5,000m title she earned on Monday (July 13), to make sure she leaves as the undisputed track distance champion of Port Moresby 2015.
The 21-year-old, who enjoyed unwanted notoriety after being lapped twice in the 5,000m race at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year, clocked 38min 33.04sec, a national record, leaving the rest of the field in her wake.
Ongan Awa of Papua New Guinea came through to claim silver and bronze looked to have gone to compatriot Mary Kua before she was disqualified for removing her bib during the race.
Instead, the third and final podium place was awarded to Tahiti’s Elodie Mesou epse Mevel.
New Caledonia sealed success on the track thanks to Adrien Kela, who won the men’s 1500m race in 4:19.00 ahead of Papua New Guinea's George Yamak and Martin Orovo.
In the field, athletes from New Caledonia reigned supreme as an emotional Erwan Cassier set the tone for a fruitful evening for the nation with gold in the men’s hammer thanks to a throw of 61.52 metres.
The 26-year-old dedicated his medal to father and coach Frederic Cassier, who passed away two months ago.
Samoa’s Alexander Rose won silver, while Cassier’s teammate Eutesio Toto secured bronze.
New Caledonia also took gold in the men’s pole vault thanks to Eric Reuillard, whose effort of 4.60m was enough to earn him his fourth Pacific Games crown.
Papua New Guinea’s Karo Iga was well adrift in second, registering a best of 3.85m, with Jean-Bernard Harper adding another medal to the New Caledonia tally with bronze.
Tereapii Tapoki of Cook Islands maintained her winning streak in the women’s discus, sealing her third-straight title with 48.70m, more than seven metres further than nearest challenger, New Caledonia's Atanasia Takosi.
Kasandra Vegas of Samoa clinched bronze with 40.23m.
July 2015: Wisil takes women's 100m title as hosts win six gold medals on day two of Pacific Games athletics
July 2015: Solomon Islands claim gold as two Pacific Games records broken on opening day of Port Moresby 2015 athletics