By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV, Port Moresby
The fastest man in the Pacific, Fijian Ratu Banuve Tabakaucoro is gearing up to defend his 100 metres and 200 metres titles in July’s Pacific Games.
Tabakaucoro broke the Pacific 200 metres record in the Oceania Championship in Tahiti, in 2013, after beating Nelson Stone, narrowly shaving off point one of a second from the previous record which Stone had set at the 2011 Pacific Games.
At the at the Oceania Championships in Cairns earlier this month, Tabakaucoro continued his dominance on the track; when he clocked in a personal best of 20.68 second in the 200 metres, ahead of PNG’s Nelson Stone, who clocked 21.67 seconds.
Pacific Sprint King, Banuve Tabakaucoro says he is aiming to run below 10.16 seconds in the 100 metres to qualify for the Rio Olympics next year.
The Fijian sprint star will lead Fiji’s athletics team to the Pacific Games; and admits that it won’t be an easy feat competing against his biggest rival on the track, Nelson Stone.
Stone’s success dates back to 2007, when he made his first appearance for Team PNG at the Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa. Athletics Fiji has acknowledged that Banuve Tabakaucoro faces stiff competition in PNG and with home nation support behind Stone; it will be a tough battle.
In the women’s sprint, the Fijian sprinters are the favourites for silver in the 100m, 200m and 400m as PNG’s Toea Wisil continues to clock the fastest time in the region in these events.