President of French Polynesia Athletics Titaua Maurin-Juventin and IAAF Vice President Sebastian Coe assist the IAAF Kids' Athletics programme in Papeete (OAA) © Copyright

Copeland takes the Javelin plaudits, Gerrard Leads Decathlon: Oceania Area Champs day two report

Copeland takes the Javelin plaudits, Gerrard Leads Decathlon: Oceania Area Champs day two report

Javelin thrower Les Copeland produced the top performance of the second day as the Oceania championships in Papeete, French Polynesia on Tuesday (4).

The 25-year-old from Fiji tossed the spear 76.87 metres to win the open men’s title. Already a representative at the 2011 World Championships and London 2012 Olympic Games, where he threw beyond 80 metres in qualifying and was one place away from making the final - Copeland looks set likely to represent his country again at this year’s World championships in Moscow.

Australia’s 20-year-old Elana Withnall consolidated her overnight lead and wrapped up victory in the Heptathlon with 4348 points, while the Decathlon got under way in what is the Oceania leg of this year’s IAAF Combined Events Challenge.

New Zealand’s Nick Gerrard, leads after the first day with 3774 points from Australia’s Andrew Hodges, who lies second with 3567 points.

Gerrard, 21, finished fourth and Hodges was ninth at the Australian Championships in Sydney back in April, when Gerrard set his personal best of 7256 points.

Although a little down on his Sydney first day, Gerrard put himself in a good position to perhaps improving that tally in Papeete.

There was very little between Gerrard and Hodges in the 100, when they clocked 11.38 and 11.40 respectively,  and also in the Long Jump, 6.91m against 6.76m, and each cleared 1.93m in the High Jump but Gerrard built up his advantage in the Shot Put with an effort of 13.61m, against Hodges’ 11.78m and the final event of day one, the 400 metres, saw  Gerrard run 51.39m nore than a second faster than his main rival, to lead by 207 points after the first day.

Australia’s James Kermond was a delighted winner of the boys’ under 18 400m in 47.93, his time faster than that posted by New Zealand’s Robert Jopp, who won the senior title in 48.44.

Samoa’s US-based Alex Rose added to his opening day victory in the Discus by taking the shot put with a personal best 17.22m.

Australia’s Cedric Dubler , a multi-eventer who trains at the IAAF High Performance Training Centre at home on the Gold Coast, added to his opening day win in the Pole Vault by taking the Long Jump with 7.24m.

Tonga notched up a win in the men’s 4x100m, taking the event in 43.27.

The championships conclude on Wednesday. Among the final day highlights will be the attempts of Fiji’s Ratu Banuve Tabakaucoro and Papua New Guinea’s Toe Wisil to complete sprint doubles in the men’s and women’s 100 metres, respectively.

Preceding the second day of competition of the championships in Papeete’s Pater Stadium was a session of the IAAF Kids’ Athletics programme.

Over 800 excited and enthusiastic youngsters took part in the morning’s activities with IAAF Vice President Lord Sebastian Coe also participating.

On a more sombre note, New Zealand's Lesley Cantwell remains in a critical condition in hospital in Papeete.

Cantwell, 26, felt unwell after winning the 5000m Race Walk title on the opening day of competition and was subsequently taken to hospital.

Len Johnson for the IAAF