FIJI SUN – TOEA Wisil became Paciifc Island nations’ first female track and field athlete to qualify on merit for this year’s Rio Olympics.
She didn’t need to as she had already got a Rio spot as one of two PNG athletes on the universality rule – which allows restricted numbers from weaker countries automatic qualification.
Wisil won Saturday’s women’s 100m final in the Melanesian Oceania Championships in Suva, Fiji, in a cracking 11.29sec.
The Rio qualifying time for event is 11.32sec.
Wisil, who won the Pacific Games 100m final in Port Moresby last year, underscored her best form yet by bettering her national record.
11.36sec – with a whopper of an effort and showing that she was peaking nicely for Rio.
This isn’t the first time a PNG athlete has qualified on merit for an Olympics athletic event – Mae Koime qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics with a 11.36 effort in 2007 which was a national record. Of course back then the qualifying time for the women’s 100m was 11.39.
The result means Wisil can now go straight into the first round of heats in Rio instead of running in a preliminary.
The race was turned the other way at the ANZ Stadium so the runners could face the wind.
Wisil, 28 and who trains in Brisbane under Tony Fairweather, said:
“I lost my dad and lost my brother in the same month but I want to thank God for the talent and helping me achieve my dreams.
“I never give up on my dreams, this is my passion and my life. I have been participating in athletics for 12 years now, this is the big moment for me and my coach, they have been behind me and I’m so proud of them.
“I can’t believe it, I trained hard and dedication has paid off and I’m happy. I want to thank God for everything he has done for me. “When you have a dream, don’t give up. You work hard to achieve your dreams.
“Nothing is free in life.” Fairweather said Wisil would skip the preliminary rounds in the Olympics which should make things easier for her. “She was already selected for PNG team but it’s good for her to come here and do her qualifier,” he said.
“This means this is going to stop her from going to that preliminary rounds, she’s not going to take the risks of qualifying again when she gets there. That’s the beauty of that.
“We had a really long summer, we have done a lot of racing and we knew that if we get the right conditions, we will get the results.”
– Fiji Sun