Sunday, September 9, 2007

Jone Delai wins Gold in Samoa

AN old pair of track shoes is what 100m sprint champ Jone Delai believes helped him win back the title 12 years later at Apia yesterday afternoon.
That plus it was his 40th birthday yesterday that pushed him to win gold for his country as well as for himself.
"Something inside me kept saying that I had to wear the track shoes which I last wore at the 1999 games. I felt I needed to wear it again," he said.
"Imagine, I couldn't locate it for the 2003 games but after a long search at our home in Ba, I found it neatly tucked away in an old sports bag of mine."
Delai said 2003 blue ribbon star John Lum Kon had given him his track shoes prior to the team's departure. But Delai said he longed for his old Asics brand shoes.
"John offered me his new shoes but even up until this morning, my instinct kept telling me to wear the old pair," he said.
"I'm 40 years of age and couldn't have asked for a better birthday present than this."
Delai last won the title at the 1995 SPG.
There was a double celebration at the Team Fiji camp at Lefifi College in Apia after Makelesi Bulikiobo retained her crown, setting a new SPG record of 11.55s. The two athletes attributed their win to their Brisbane-based coach, Lloyd Way.
"I thank Lloyd Way for believing in me in the last three months," said Delai.
"After running a time of 10.52 in Cairns last week, I knew I w as ready."
Said Bulikiobo: "I'm on top of the world right now. I am really happy and I thank my coach Lloyd Way for bringing me back to the form I'm in today."
She confessed that her Papua New Guinea rivals Mae Koime and Toea Wisil gave her a tough run. "It was pretty close and I nearly caused my Fiji fans heartache but I kept on pushing myself to the finishing line," she said.
"I dedicate the win to all the dads back at home for Father's Day and also to my supporters.
"I believe I'm a lot faster and much stronger than the last SPG and I thank Mr Way and his family for looking after me while I was at Brisbane."
Koime of PNG took the silver medal in a time of 11.57s and Wisil, also of PNG, had to settle for bronze with a time of 12s.
Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday sent a letter of congratulations to Akesa Drotini, who won the 5000m event on Tuesday.
"We are all proud of you and your achievement," he wrote, on behalf of the people of Fiji and the interim administration.
"By running barefoot and beating veteran runners, you have also clearly symbolised the theme of the Games, 'Live the Dream'. "Your remarkable victory is not only an inspiration to Team Fiji but the whole of Fiji.
"Once again, congratulations on your gallant victory and best wishes for the future."

Adapted from Fijitimes Online