Fiji wins surprise gold in women's para shot put

The Fijian flag was raised again on the final day of athletics at Apia Park Stadium after Naibili Vatunisolo won gold in the women’s shot put ambulant at the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games.

Vatunisolo claimed top spot on the podium with her biggest throw of the afternoon, 7.83 metres, scoring 74.14 per cent for her classification. New Caledonia’s Rose Vandegou claimed silver with a 7.05m throw which earned her an overall percentage of 67.65 per cent. Vanuatu’s Elie Enock snatched bronze with a best throw of 6.71m, earning her 63.54 per cent.

The final results are calculated based on an athlete’s throw distance and a weighting that correspondents to their para classification, and how close their throw is to the record score in that classification. This means that athletes do not know who has won medals immediately after the event, and have a nervous wait while officials calculate the final scores.

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New ambulant winner

Fiji's Naibili Vatunisolo won gold in the women’s shot put ambulant at Samoa 2019 (Credit: Pacific Games News Service)

"I did not expect to win today, but I am very happy, like everyone else, to win a medal,” Vatunisolo told the Pacific Games News Service.

She added that she will now be heading home to continue with her diploma in information technology.

It was Enock’s second Pacific Games medal in para events, after she collected silver in the women’s javelin throw ambulant on Tuesday, an achievement she told Pacific Games News Service she is proud of.

The women’s shot put ambulant was the last event in a memorable program of para-athletics at Samoa 2019, including two women’s events being contested for the first time.