BANUVE TABAKAUCORO (FIJI) – A Profile
The undoubted star of the Oceania Regional Athletics Championships that have recently finished in Apia, Samoa, was the 18-year-old sprinter from Fiji, Ratu Banuve Tabakaucoro.
He first emerged as a future champion when he participated in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney, January 2009.
He finished 2nd in his final of the 100m in the time of 10.9h. He subsequently was presented with the silver medal at the victory ceremony. Following an appeal by one of the defeated runners, it was decided to hold the final again the following day. The following was the description from the Oceania website at the time ….
In the hotly contested (in more than one way) re-run of the boys 100m, Fiji’s Banuve Tabakaucoro proved that his silver from yesterday was no fluke when he convincingly won the silver medal again, in the time of 11.27 seconds. He thus attended a second medal ceremony, and once again was presented with his medal by Yvonne Mullins. Two 100m races in two days - the silver twice and two boxing kangaroos (given to all medal winners in lieu of flowers). Only one of the silver medals counts in the tally, but the two kangaroos are for keeps!! Well done Banuve. He did it all over again, despite the fact that he was carrying an injury.
In the Coke Games in Suva held at the beginning of May, Banuve recorded fast times of 10.71 & 21.70 for the sprint double.
Later that month Banuve attended the IAAF World Youth Championships in Bressanone, where he won his heat of the 100m in 10.70, and then ran 10.77 in the next round. Injury once again brought his meet to an end.
By the Mini Pacific Games in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, however, Banuve was fully fit and ready for action. He won two silver medals in the short sprints, finishing second to team-mate, Niko Verekauta. Banuve’s times were 10.68 and 21.70 seconds.
An excellent first year as an international athlete.
2010 saw him start poorly by his standards. He won his heat of the Coke Games 100m but was disqualified in the final and injured for the 200m. He needed a better set of results to round out the year, and they came in the Oceania Area Championships in Cairns.
Banuve entered, and won, the U20 100m (10.80) and the 200m (21.69). The stage was now set for a more mature, confident and stronger Banuve to show how good he could be in 2011.
In the 2011 Secondary School Championships (the Coke Games) in Suva, Banuve stunned the Athletics’ fraternity with a 100m heat-win in 10.43 seconds. It was marginally windy, but a massive breakthrough. He followed this up with another 10.43 in the final, and this time the wind reading was under the limit (+1.2mps).
On the same day Bans cruised to an effortless 21.85w 200m heat win, indicating that he had a lot more in reserve for the following day. And that he did.
The Fiji National Record, and the Pacific Island Best Performance for the 200m, had been held by Niko Verekauta – 21.05 seconds.
Getting a good start and powering around the bend, Banuve ran away from the quality field to record a record-breaking 21.04 seconds, to claim his first National Record and Pacific Islands Best time.
Less than two months later we saw him at the Oceania Regional Championships in Apia, Samoa. Here he confirmed that he had arrived as one of the Islands’ best sprinters. With a 100m win in the time of 10.46 seconds, he once again saved his best for the 200m, where he broke his own NR & PIB with a time of 21.01 seconds.
A bigger, stronger, and more technically sound Banuve is ready to accept all challenges as he strives to re-write the record books. He works well with his coach, Bola Tafo’ou, who has to be congratulated on mentoring this special athlete in-country, and doing it so effectively.
The stage is now set for a fantastic series of races in Noumea, where Banuve will be up against PNG’s Nelson Stone for the bragging rights as the Pacific Island’s fastest man.
Bring it on.
Story Thanks to Bob Snow from the OAA website: http://www.athletics-oceania.com/index.php?id=18&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=1749&tx_ttnews[backPid]=10&cHash=954ff3f726