NMI’s Sappa reaches semis

Posted on Jun 26 2019


Gabriel Junior Sappa, kneeling second left, joins his teammates and coach Ron Olopai for a group photo during the opening ceremony for the 2019 Oceania Athletics Championships last Monday at the Townsville Sports Reserve in Queensland, Australia. (Contributed Photo)

The CNMI’s Gabriel Junior Sappa qualified to the semifinals of the 100m run event in the 2019 Oceania Athletics Championships after finishing third in one of the preliminary races yesterday at the Townsville Sports Reserve in Queensland, Australia.

The sprinter was on Heat 5 of the qualifying runs in the men’s senior division and timed in at 11.80 seconds to rank third in the group behind Australia’s Jake Doran (10.67 seconds) and New Zealand’s Joseph Millar (11.26 seconds). Sappa defeated Nauru’s Olimac Scotty (11.91 seconds), Guam’s Paul Dimalanta (13.01 seconds), and the Solomon Islands’ James Brock Mebupe (12.05).

The Commonwealth bet, who will also compete in the 200m run, will race in the semifinals this morning, while the medal event is scheduled in the evening. Sappa is one of the 24 runners who will vie for the eight finals berths. Fiji’s Banuve Tabakaucoro led the semis qualifiers list after timing in at 10.61 seconds on Heat 4. Other heat top placers were Australia’s Jack Hale (10.84 seconds/Heat 1); New Zealand’s Edward Osei-Nketia (10.69 seconds/Heat 2); and Samoa’s Kelvin Masoe (10.75 seconds/Heat 4).

Meanwhile, Zarinae Sapong also raced in the preliminaries of the women’s senior 100m and submitted 13.31 seconds. She was on Heat 2, which was won by New Zealand’s Zoe Hobbs (11.81 seconds). The Kiwi made it to the medal round along with fellow New Zealand runners Georgia Hulls (12.01 seconds) and Brooke Somerfield (12.13 seconds), Australia’s Naa Anang (11.89 seconds), Papua New Guinea’s Toea Wisil (11.95 seconds) and Leonie Beu (12.42 seconds), Regional Australia’s Kayla Montagner (12.64 seconds), and Fiji’s Heleina Young (12.36 seconds).

In other results, the CNMI’s Leilani Acosta joined the women’s high jump U18 contest and logged 1.35 meters to finish fifth. Australia swept the medals with Charlotte O’Brien (1.71m) taking the gold and Annie Stapleton (1.68m) and Elizabeth Moss (1.65m) getting the silver and bronze, respectively.

Besides Acosta, Sappa, and Sapong, five other CNMI athletes are competing in the Oceania meet and will have their events in the last three days of the tournament. Jamie Pangelinan and Traven Quitugua are entered in the U18’s 100m and 100m m races; Oldie Roligat is competing in the U18’s 100m and long jump; Tyler Santos is in the 1,500m and 800m runs (U18); and Theyvie Ann They is in the women’s long jump (U18).

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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