Zarinae Sapong accomplished her goal in setting a new personal best time in the 100-meter sprint on Saturday in the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in London, United Kingdom.
The 19-year-old, running in Heat 6 at the London Olympic Stadium at Marshgate Lane, clocked 13.29 seconds to shave off 0.06 milliseconds off the 13.35 time in her gold-medal winning performance in the 2016 Micronesian Athletics Championships in Pohnpei.
She finished eighth and despite failing to qualify, Northern Marianas Athletics development officer Elias Rangamar still welcomed Sapong’s new PBT. Only the first three sprinters and the next six fastest in each heat advanced to the semifinals.
“That was our own goal, for Zari to set a new PBT. We know that we’re still years behind the world’s best, since athletics is still in its infancy in the CNMI. We’re really happy for this achievement,” Rangamar told Saipan Tribune in a phone interview yesterday.
“We did some tweaks with her technique a few days before she left and that thing worked. This is a huge confidence booster to her since we’re using the Worlds to prepare for next year’s MAC on Saipan and the Micro Games in Yap State.”
Rangamar added that Sapong’s performance in London makes her the favorite in defending her MAC 100m gold and to win the same event in the Micro Games. “We’re still going to work hard for her to further improve with her time.”
“Our ultimate goal is to break the 13- and 12-second marks in the Micro Games and MAC. There’s room for her to improve. I love her work ethic, her commitment to train and improve her time.”
Sapong is also the reigning 200m run champion in the MAC with a games record of 27.87 seconds while anchoring the CNMI women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams to bronze medals in the 2016 edition at Pohnpei State, Federated States of Micronesia.
She also posted a 13.64-second time in the 100m sprint in this year’s Oceania Area Championship in Fiji and 28.47 in the 200m run, improve her previous times of 13.91 and 28.97 seconds in the 2015 Oceania Championships in Cairns, Australia.
European juniors champion Gina Lückenkemper of Germany surprised everyone by being the top qualifier with her own PBT of 10.95 seconds, joining favorites Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands (11.08), the United States’ Tori Bowie (11.05), and 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Elaine Thompson of Jamaica (11.05).