CNMI runner Zarinae Sapong earned a personal best in the 60m race in the 17th IAAF World Indoor Championships held at the Arena Birmingham in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Sapong clocked in at 8.54 seconds in the qualifying heat to surpass the 8.70 seconds she registered during the 16th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland in 2016. The Commonwealth sprinter was on Heat 7 of the qualifier and raced last Friday (Saturday Saipan time) against athletes from Germany, Jamaica, Poland, Italy, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and Ghana. Germany’s Tatjano Pinto won the heat after narrowly beating Jamaica’s Remona Burchell, who submitted 7.19 seconds against the former’s 7.18.
France’s Carolle Zahi logged the fastest qualifying time, as she topped Heat 4 after checking in at 7.11 seconds. However, Zahi only placed eighth in the finals, while Ivory Coast had a 1-2 finish with Murielle Ahoure (6.97 seconds) ruling the event and Marie-Josee Ta Lou (7.05 seconds) earning the runner-up honors. Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji settled for the bronze after losing to Ta Lou in the photo finish.
Meanwhile, Northern Marianas Athletics coach Elias Rangamar accompanied Sapong to the indoor competition, which ran from March 1 to 4 and drew more than 400 athletes.
Sapong was one of the 12 athletes who represented the Oceania Athletics Association in the five-day competition. Also on the OAA team were Australia’s Damien Birkenhead, Ryan Gregson, Nicholas Hough, Kurtis Marschall, Michelle Jenneke, Nina Kennedy, and Sally Pearson; the Cook Islands’ Patty Taea; Fiji’s Miriama Senokono; the Federated States of Micronesia’s Alvin Marvin Martin, Nauru’s Jonah Harris, New Zealand’s Hamish Carson, Julian Oakley, Tomas Walsh, and Eliza McCartney; Papua New Guinea’s Mazmie-Lee Marai; Tahiti’s Namataiki Tevenino; the Solomon Islands’ Paul Mau’nikeni; Tuvalu’s Karalo Maibuca; and Vanuatu’s Tikie Terrie Mael.
The U.S. topped the medal standings in the tournament after collecting six gold medals, 10 bronzes, and two silvers. Ethiopia was second with its 4-1-0 tally, while Poland came in at third with its 2-2-1 medal haul.