Papua New Guinea’s quartet put on a spectacular show in the women’s 4x400m relay to continue the excitement their countrymen started to end another exciting night of Sol2023 athletics at the National Stadium in Honiara on Thursday.
Hot on the heels of PNG’s men’s 4x400m team winning gold, Isila Apkup, Edna Boafob, Adrine Monagi and Leonie Beu triumphed in the relay with a time of 3 minutes and 49.11 seconds to claim the gold medal ahead of New Caledonia (3:53.73, silver) and New Zealand (3:57.17, bronze).
It was Monagi in the third lap who turned the momentum in PNG’s favour for gold as she overtook New Caledonia and set up Beu for the final 400m lap. Beu, taking the lead set by Monagi, ran with ease and finished the job for team PNG, no one able to catch up to her.
The Pacific Games News Service caught up with three of the PNG women’s 4x400m relay team who each said that they were happy about their race and grateful for the support they received from their fellow countrymen and women.
Monagi said: “We were pretty excited about this race. A huge acknowledgement to the girls who did a lot of events. I didn’t get what I wanted in the hurdles (silver), so it motivated me. I wanted to come out here and win gold (in the hurdles) but unfortunately it didn’t work out. I hit a lot of hurdles, so I had to take it out on the 4×4”.
Beu said: “We worked really hard for this 4×4 race, and it all paid off. The crowd made us move so thanks to the other Papua New Guineans here, thanks for the support”.
Apkup said: “There were a lot of people and most of the athletes who participate in other sports, they came out to watch as well and it was good to have them come out here and watch and at least have Papua New Guineans here to support us”.
PNG’s coach, Brett Green, also expressed his delight with the team’s performance.
“This shows that they’ve done the hard work in training and that’s what it takes and they’ve just got to keep going in there and doing it.
“This is just a big performance basically from the team and that’s what relays are all about, putting your best team out there. Not necessarily always the fastest runners but the best team so that’s just brilliant by the girls,” he said.
New Caledonia were happy to settle for the silver medal.
Loan Ville said: “It’s a great second place. It’s a tough race and today we’ve brought home a great medal for our country, so I’m delighted, and I think the girls are too.
“I’m particularly pleased with what we’re doing because if we’re here, it’s because we’ve got the level. I think we’ve got a good team and we’re going to go in search of more medals. That’s what we’re here for,” said Ville.
Her New Caledonia teammate Charlotte Michelle said: “We knew that New Zealand were favourites, as were the Papua New Guineans, but today we finished ahead of New Zealand, so we did our job, we’re happy.”
The Pacific Games News Service caught up with Tillie Hollyer from the New Zealand quartet who said:
“We knew the PNG girls would be really fast cause they have a lot of 400m runners in their team, but we brought together a team that had one 400m runner, a 400m hurdler and then two middle distance runners so to get bronze is a pretty amazing achievement.”
By Melissa Velvel Fare, Pacific Games News Service