SOL23: Wallis and Futuna claim gold and silver in men’s discus

Wallis and Futuna won both gold and silver in men’s discus. Photos: Danzo Kakadi and Lawrence Ale, Pacific Games News Service

The national anthem of Wallis and Futuna rung out across Honiara’s National Stadium on Thursday night as two of their athletes stood on the podium for the Sol2023 Pacific Games men’s discus throw.

From a 12-man field of competitors, the two men threw furthest and strongest.

Stephen Mailagi took out the gold medal with a whopping throw of 48.69 metres. His fellow countryman Tapuakitau Lakalaka threw 47.20m for silver, while bronze was awarded to Samoa’s Nathaniel Sulupo, who threw 46.72m.

Mailagi told the Pacific Games News Service that he is honoured to represent Wallis and Futuna and his family.

“Words cannot explain how I feel. I have one more event to go (the men’s shot put on Friday) and I hope to maintain this momentum,” he said.

With that being the final discus throw of Sol2023, technical officials were grateful for the opportunity to participate and refresh their skills while boosting their experience in the track and field event.

One such is Pricilla Iroga, a Solomon Islands-based technical official who scored for the men’s discus event.

“Personally, this is a big deal for us, and having the facilities is one part of the big picture,” Pricilla told the Pacific Games News Service. “We need more competition and development to give us that extra enhancement. I also want to thank Oceania Athletics for giving us a good start.”

By Delisha Koime and Frank Teho, Pacific Games News Service