International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
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International Paralympic Committee (IPC)

Novice athletes do Vanuatu Paralympic Committee proud

Novice athletes do Vanuatu Paralympic Committee proud

and the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee were well represented in the Gold Coast PB Series this weekend by 3 athletes who had never previously stepped foot on a synthetic athletics track. Friana Kwevira, Peter Dick and Dephnny Naliupis competed in their first athletic competition, and were joined by 2012 Paralympian Marcel Houssimoli.

The athletes are participating in a camp which targets Oceania para-athletes aspiring to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Games Federation, the Griffith University and the Oceania Paralympic Committee. Athletes from Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa have been invited to take part in the EQUIP-GAPS program where they will undergo a series of tests and attend sessions by Griffith University staff who will outline the approach required for performance improvement. Supporting the athletes from a technical perspective will be 9 time Paralympian and former discus world record holder Mr John Eden and former Australian Paralympic Athletics Head Coach Mr Chris Nunn.

Mr Nunn stated today “We are delighted to be here to support these young athletes in their quest to represent Vanuatu in international competition. Seeing the excitement on their faces when they walked onto the track for the first time was a moment to treasure. More importantly, the approach these athletes took to doing their best when competing would make all Ni-Vanuatu proud”.

The highlight performances came from Peter Dick in the F46 javelin and Friana Kwevira in both the F46 shot put and javelin. Mr Dick contested the 100m and shot put earlier in the day but it was his performance in the javelin which captured the attention of coach Eden when he improved on each of his throws before concluding with a personal best of 36.62 metres. Whilst the javelin is not an event Mr Dick can contest at the Commonwealth Games next year, it is certainly an option for the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships. Coach Eden was impressed with the speed of Mr Dick’s arm, but also noted there was significant improvement to be made.

Ms Kwevira showed she has the potential and personal drive to be competitive in the international arena. Competing in borrowed shoes, her javelin performance of 18.02m, equates to a top 4 ranking with Commonwealth athletes whilst her shot put of 6.65m would place her at 5th on the 2017 World Rankings.

The next opportunity for competition for each of the athletes will be at the Pacific Min-Games in December.

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