First Timer Strikes Gold
Seinimili Cagilaba won Vunisea Secondary School’s first gold medal when she threw 34.36m in the intermediate girls discus during the Coca- Cola Games at the ANZ Stadium, Suva yesterday.
The 17-year-old from Soso, Naceva in Kadavu was just 76cm short of equalling the record set by Ana Baleira of Koro High School who threw 35.12m in 2015.
Finishing in second place was Katarina Lilicama of Napuka Junior Secondry School who threw 33.62m while Lydia Panapasa of Suva Grammar School came third with a throw of 33.20m.
This is the first time Cagilaba took part in Games and admitted that she was terrified of competing in such a prestigious competition but was relieved to win gold in the end.
“I’m really excited as this is something I was not expecting because this is the first time I am taking part in the games,” she told SUNsports.
“I was really scared coming out here, I have only watched the Coke Games on television and heard about it, I never thought I would be participating in it.
“I did not want to take part by my head coach forced me to take it up and I’m really glad that I did. This is something I will remember for a long time, all my training and perfecting my techniques and praying to God has paid off.
“I remember waking up in the middle of the night while everyone was still asleep, I would pray to God and ask Him to support me and give me the strength to do my best.”
Her coach Joeli Vatu said despite not having the facilities needed to train the athletes properly, they taught her what they could and left the rest to God.
“We come all the way from Kadavu and we do not have the facilities like they do here in Suva, that is what people do not realise,” Vatu said.
“But the way we train them, these girls here were brought up in the village, most of them collect firewood and that is their normal strength so the only thing that we teach them is the technique and the skills.
“We have been encouraging her before she came here, we told her that this is her first time taking part and that she only needs to do her utmost best and we are now proud of her.”