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Mini Pacific Games Wallis & Futuna 2013

During the Mini Pacific Games, Norfolk Island resident Brianna Stephens won a Bronze Medal in the Open Women’s Hammer Throw event. Eight months of training paid off for Brianna and her coach Brentt Jones (previous medal winner) and they are extremely happy with her progression and achievement in such a short time. Brianna travelled to Wallis & Futuna as the only representative from Norfolk Island and proudly carried the flag in the opening ceremony on Monday. Her win on Wednesday morning proved that commitment, determination and persistence pay off when you put in the time and effort required to accomplish your goals.

This is Brianna’s first Pacific Mini Games participation. She competed in Discus, Shot Put and High Jump at the Oceania Regional Athletics in Cairns in June 2012 bringing home 2 bronze and 1 silver medal respectively. Her first competitive Hammer Throw was at the Oceania Athletics in Tahiti in May 2013 where she was not successful as far as medals go.

The trip to the Island of Wallis consisted of 4 plane flights and 24 hours of travel for Bri and Geoff Gardner (who went as an official). The tropical Island lived up to it’s name with extremely hot temperatures and high humidity, making it difficult to adjust from our mild Norfolk weather. The hosts made everyone welcome and even cooked a whole pig for every country who entered the Games. This generous and wonderful gift of a pig was a pleasant surprise for all... except Norfolk... because A. Brianna doesn’t eat pork.... and B. She had a whole pig to herself!!!

Thanks need to go to Athletics Norfolk Island, Oceania Athletic Association, Geoff Gardner, Brentt Jones and Paula O’Hara for their guidance and assistance in organizing Brianna’s trip. Special thanks go to Brentt who has spent many hours coaching Bri and helping her achieve her goals. Bri has to move to Australia next year to further her studies but is investigating ways to keep training in Hammer Throw. She has her eyes set on more Oceania competitions and perhaps the Pacific Games in 2015.

On a sad note... Brianna was meant to have a travelling companion to these Games... friend and fellow athlete Britney Quintal-Christian, who was taken from us far too early. On Friday afternoon Bri will wear a black armband and compete in Brit’s specialty event - Shot Put - as a tribute to her friend.

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