Pacific's fastest man reigns in thrilling 200m final

The fastest man in the Pacific, Fiji’s Banuve Tabakaucoro, ran close to defeat in the men’s 200m final the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games on Thursday, but edged past Samoa’s Jeremy Dodson by four hundredths of a second to retain his title.

In a thrilling contest at Apia Park Stadium, Tabakaucoro was victorious in 20.87 seconds, inches ahead of Dodson who finished in 20.91 seconds. Papua New Guinea’s Theo Piniau snatched bronze in 21.70 seconds.

Both Tabakaucoro and Dodson fell after crossing the finish line, sending the medics out onto the field.

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200m photo finish

Fiji’s Banuve Tabakaucoro won the 200m by four hundredths of a second at Samoa 2019 (Credit: Pacific Games News Service)

The Fijian admitted he was feeling very sore after the competition. “I expected to finish strong but not to fall over like that, but it just shows the level of competition here,” Tabakaucoro told the Pacific Games News Service.

Dodson reflected positively on his performance. “It shows that I’m going in the right direction leading up to the world championships in Doha in September and October,” he said. “Doha is a lot hotter than this, a little dryer, so this was great preparation all around”.

In the women’s 200m Papua New Guniea’s Toea Wisil won gold in 23.45 seconds, roughly half a second ahead of the silver medallist, Heleina Valetta Young of Fiji. Leonie Beu of PNG claimed bronze.

Young admitted that she had anticipated a hotly contested race against Wisil. “Keeping up with her was quite hard, but I got a personal best, and for that I’m proud,” Young said.

A victorious Wisil said she was hoping to sweep her races tomorrow, and will certainly be one to watch on the final day of competition. 

Athletics concludes on Friday at Apia Park Stadium with a packed day of action from 2.30pm onwards. Entry is $5 or free for children under 15.