Athletics kicks off with 1st gold going to PNG

Posted on Jun 22 2022


Papua New Guinea’s Debono Paraka, second from right, lines up with fellow discus throwers prior to the start of their event yesterday in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 at the Oleai track & field. (LEIGH GASES)

As the sun sets and bathes the area a fiery orange and yellow, the athletics events of the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 went underway at the Oleai track & field with the crowd surrounding all sides of the venue to watch and cheer athletes of the men and women sprints, discus throw, long jump, shot put, and the javelin throw.

With the glowing embers of the latte torch in the background, Debono Paraka gave Papua New Guinea the first medal of athletics as he struck gold with a throw of 51.02m.

For silver, 19-year-old Jackson Mellor of Australia threw the discus at 38.40m, while Kaota Ribabaiti of Kiribati threw the discus at a distance of 35.19m to settle for the bronze.

Team NMI discus throwers put up a valiant effort as Lyle Andrew placed fourth with a 33.05m throw, Anthony Borja placed fifth with a 27.41m throw, and Mark Mapeso was last with a 25.24m throw.

In the men’s octathlon 100m sprint and long jump events, NMI’s Orrin Pharmin could not catch up or outleap speedy and springier Papua New Guinea athletes Karo Iga and Roland Hure as he came last in both events. The octathlon consists of eight events and the medal event will be today.

In the men’s 10,000m run, PNG struck gold once again with Dilu Goiye winning the event and compatriot Siune Kagl taking the silver. Vanuatu’s Simon Charley won bronze.

Over in the women’s 800m run, PNG dominated once more when Scholastica Herman taking the gold. Tahiti’s Estelle Gentilly won silver and Charlotte Michel took home the bronze.

Day 2 of athletics continues today with men’s octathlon events in the 110m hurdles, high jump, javelin, and 1,000m along with the women’s 400m sprint, women’s 100m ambulant, men’s 100m sprint, women’s 10,000m run, women’s 1,500m run, men’s 800m run, men’s 400m sprint, and the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase on tap.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at

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