Dani Samuels throwing at the 2012 Australian Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Samuels and Tallent the standouts at the Oceania Championships

Over 400 athletes from 22 nations competed in the Oceania Championships in Cairns on 27-29 June, but just one World champion.

Competing as a guest before departing for the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Paris and her final pre-Olympic build-up, the 2009 World champion in the discus, Dani Samuels, won her competition with a distance of 56.70m. Completing her series of six throws, she had another effort of 56.69m, two in the 54-metre range and two fouls.

The event was won by Alexaraee Toeaina of American Samoa with a distance of 48.99m, but she may well remember the contest for having competed against a former World champion as much as winning.

The Samoan pair of Alex Rose and Emanuele Fuamatu dominated the men’s throws. Twenty-one year-old Rose took the Discus Throw with a distance of 56.29m and then completed a double by taking the hammer with a best of 51.10m.

Fuamatu, 23, won the Shot Put with a distance of 18.26m.

Fiji’s World Junior championships-bound Roy Ravana finished second in the men’s 200m running 21.66 behind the winner, James Grimm of Australia, who recorded 21.57.

The men’s Long Jump also saw a close contest with Australia’s Scott Crowe (best of 7.96m) jumping 7.44m to narrowly get the better of French Polynesia’s Raihau Maiau, 7.42m.

Papua New Guinea was a strong performer in the sprint events, its efforts highlighted by a double from 20-year-old Donna Koniel in the 400 (56.17) and 400 hurdles (61.54).

A total of nine national records were set at the championships, Nauru taking the lion’s share with five. No fewer than three of those were set by sprinter Lovelite "Chrissa" Detanamo who is on her way to Barcelona for the World Junior championships.

Australian Olympic team member Claire Tallent stepped down from her London distance of 20km to take a double in the women’s walks. Tallent won the 5000 metres on the opening day of competition in 21 minutes 57.48 seconds and took the 10km walk on the morning of the closing day in 44:19.

Dane Bird-Smith, fifth in the World junior championships in Moncton two years ago, won the men’s 10km in 40:21.

Besides Samuels, several other guests enlivened the three-day meeting, notably in the relays. Japanese teams won the women’s 4x100 and men’s 4x400 metres and a senior Australian squad won the men’s 4x100.

Anna Doi, Momoko Takahashi, Chisato Fukushima and Yumeka Sano combined to take out the women’s sprint relay in 44.90 seconds.

In the men’s 4x400 Kei Takasa, Yuzo Kanemaru, Hiroyuki Azuma and Hiroyuki Nakano carried the baton around four laps of the track in 3:06.90, well ahead of an Australian squad who ran 3:12.56.

And in the men’s 4x100 an Australian squad of Anthony Alozie, Isaac Ntiamoah, Andrew McCabe and Joshua Ross ran 39.45 to notch up a comfortable win.

All three squads were in the top 16 relay teams for London as of the start of the week, but both the Australian men’s 4x100 and the Japanese men’s 4x400 are in a precarious 15th spot and looking to consolidate their places. The Japanese women’s 4x100 squad is in a relatively comfortable 12th place.

Australia’s 4x100 relay will have further competition on Sunday in Osaka.

Len Johnson for the IAAF