PNG's Kaputin defends women's long jump title

Papua New Guinea’s Rellie Kaputin retained her women’s long jump title at the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games on Friday, shrugging off rainy conditions to post her best result of the week at Apia Park Stadium.

Kaputin leapt 6.12 metres, considerably further than her gold medal winning jump of 5.97m at the Port Moresby 2015 XV Pacific Games.

Her PNG teammate Annie Topal claimed silver with a best jump of 5.68m, while Vanuatu’s Lyza Malres secured bronze, jumping 5.55m.

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Rellie Kaputin

Rellie Kaputin of PNG won gold in women's long jump at Samoa 2019 after disappointing results in the high jump and triple jump (Credit: Pacific Games News Service)

A delighted Kaputin was relieved to retain her gold medal in one of her three events, after failing to do so in the high jump and triple jump earlier in the week.

“After a really big upset that I didn’t defend my titles in the high jump and the triple jump, I pulled myself together and I just believed in myself that I had to go out there and at least get my gold medal back,” she told the Pacific Games News Service. “This is the first time I’ve jumped over 6m in all six of my jumps and I’m really proud of myself.”

It was the second time in 24 hours that Kaputin and Topal had shared the podium, with Topal having claimed gold and Kaputin silver in Thursday’s women’s triple jump final.

“Long jump is not a favorite event of mine, my favorite event is triple jump and this event is very challenging for me but I managed to finished it,” Topal told the Pacific Games News Service.

“I just can’t wait to go back home and celebrate with my family.”

Malres, who is a sprinter, revealed that she had been asked to compete in long jump at the last minute, and was thrilled to win a medal. “I actually did no training for this, my coach just told me to jump and so I jumped. So I’m surprised with this result, and I will continue to train hard to achieve gold next time.”