BY ROMULUS HUTA
SOLOMON Islands lone representative to the 17th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom has clocked a personal best time over the weekend.
Seventeen year old Paul Maunikeni clocked a personal best time of 7.32s in heat four of the 60m dash event at the Arena Birmingham on Saturday (Sunday Solomon Islands time).
The young sprinter’s heat featured competitors from United Kingdom, Turkey, China, Germany, Montserrat, Lebanon and San Marino.
Maunikeni finished eighth in the heat and missed out on a place in the semifinals.
Turkish sprinter Emre Zafer Barnes clocked the fastest time in the heat finishing with 6.58s ahead of China’s Zhenge Xie (6.62s) and Germany’s Michael Pohl (6.73s) to get through to the semifinals.
World champion and American sprinter Christian Coleman won the finals of the 60m dash event clocking a time of 6.37s, which is three nano seconds short of his world record time of 6.34s earned at last month’s United States Indoor Championship in Albuquerque.
The 17th IAAF World Indoor Championships was held from March 1 to 4 in Birmingham.
Maunikeni was one of the 12 athletes who represented the Oceania Athletics Association (OAA) in the four-day competition.
Also on the OAA team were Australia’s Damien Birkenhead, Ryan Gregson, Nicholas Hough, Kurtis Marschall, Michelle Jenneke, Nina Kennedy, and Sally Pearson; the Cook Islands’ Patty Taea; Fiji’s Miriama Senokono; the Federated States of Micronesia’s Alvin Marvin Martin, Nauru’s Jonah Harris, New Zealand’s Hamish Carson, Julian Oakley, Tomas Walsh, and Eliza McCartney; Papua New Guinea’s Mazmie-Lee Marai; Tahiti’s Namataiki Tevenino; CNMI’s Zarinae Sapong ; Tuvalu’s Karalo Maibuca; and Vanuatu’s Tikie Terrie Mael.
The U.S. topped the medal standings in the competition after collecting six gold medals, 10 bronzes, and two silvers. Ethiopia was second with its 4-1-0 tally, while Poland came in at third with its 2-2-1 medal haul.
Meanwhile, former national sprinter Francis Manioru is the current national record holder for the indoor 60m event with his 7.07s time clocked during the Moskva IAAF World Indoor Championships held in Russia in 2006.