Wallis and Futuna celebrate gold in men's javelin

Wallis and Futuna's Felise Vahai Sosaia claimed a memorable gold medal in athletics at the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games on Monday night as he topped the podium in men’s javelin.

Despite throwing four out of six foul throws at Apia Park Stadium, Vahai Sosaia’s two successful throws were comfortably the furthest of the session and he secured gold with a best effort of 62.41 metres.

Samoa’s Laurence Faapoi Tasi came second throwing 53.53m, and Papua New Guinea’s Lakona Gerega collected bronze, throwing 52.72m.

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Wallis and Futuna's Felise Vahai Sosaia won gold in the men's javelin on the opening night of athletics at Samoa 2019 (Credit: Pacific Games News Service)

“I’m very emotional to get first place and very happy for today,” he told the Pacific Games News Service. “It has being a lot of hard work getting into the Pacific Games and it’s a reward for all the hard work along the way.”

Silver medalist Faapoi Tasi was competing in the Pacific Games for the first time. And, despite sustaining a back injury during his second throw, he was able to continue and produce his best throw at the final attempt to claim silver. 

“It means a lot to me because this is my first time competing and carrying the flag for Samoa, and I gave my best for my country,” he said, beaming.

“Even though I got a sore back after my second throw, I did my best. I just want to thank God for all the strength given to me while I’m on the field. Thank you too to my church, the Minister, my village also my school for all the support and cheering. I really appreciate it. Especially to my coach who trained me this whole time.”

Bronze medalist Gerega said he was disappointed with his performance. “The rain ruined my competition and I didn’t do some of my best techniques today. My personal best is 64.89m but today I only got 52 point something. Anyways, I didn’t do my best but I won bronze for my country.”

The women’s javelin event kicks off Tuesday morning’s athletics session at Apia Park Stadium from 9.30am. Entry is $5 and free for children under 15.