CNMI sprinter Zarinae Sapong is competing in the world stage anew as she heads to Poland tomorrow to race in the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships.
Sapong, who represented the Commonwealth in the 2016 World Indoor Championships and ran the 60m sprint at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland in March this year, will be participating in the qualifying heat for the 100m event in the IAAF World U20. The competition in Poland is formerly known as the World Juniors and will take place from July 19 to 24 at the Zawisza Stadium in Bydgoszcz.
“Off-island competitions are always exciting for me, especially when it’s with athletes closer to my age group. I learn from each event I take part in and I hope to utilize the experience I will gain from the upcoming competition to further my accomplishments in athletics,” Sapong said in an interview with Saipan Tribune yesterday.
“My goal for this competition is to improve my personal best (100m) that I recently set in Pohnpei,” the 18-year-old athlete added.
Sapong anchored the CNMI’s seven gold, four silver, and three bronze-medal haul in the 2016 Micronesian Athletics Championship in Pohnpei last month. The Marianas High School student collected two gold medals, one silver, and two bronzes in the regional tournament. She topped the 100m and 200m races, clocking a personal best time in the former after posing 13.35 seconds. The younger daughter of Robin and Penny then submitted a field best 27.87 seconds in the 200m, was runner-up in the 400m (1:08.80), and helped the CNMI finish third in the 4x100m and 4x400m relay races.
With her five medals from MAC, she earned the competition’s Outstanding Female Athlete award and was later named NMSA Female Athlete of the Month (for June).
These recent accomplishments, according to Sapong, are made possible with the support she is getting from Northern Marianas Athletics and her coaches and fellow athletes.
“I would like to thank them for their continued support and encouragement,” the CNMI sprinter said.
Meanwhile, the 2016 edition of the World U20 is the second biggest in terms of participation, as 1,518 athletes from 160 IAAF-member countries are competing in the five-day event. The number of athletes participating in next week’s tournament is behind the 1,566 recorded in 2012 when Barcelona hosted the quadrennial event.
Rachel Abrams represented the Commonwealth in the youth tournament in Barcelona and also raced in the 100m sprint, submitting a personal best time of 13.05 seconds. She surpassed the 13.01 seconds she posted in the finals of the U20 100m race in the Oceania Regional Championships held the same year at the Barlow Park in Cairns, Australia.