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14-Year-old making debut splash in World Aquatic Championships


PNG Swimmer and the youngest of the four athletes who represented PNG was 14-year-old Abigail Ai Tom who made her début on world stage in the recent World Aquatics Championships held from 14-30 July in Fukuoka, Japan.

She took to the pool two days behind her team mates; 23-year-old Josh Tarere, 22-year-old Nathaniel Noka and 24-year-old Georgia-Leigh Vele on the second day of the competition impressively splashing a personal best in the 100m backstroke with a finish time of 1:14.69.

Tom then went on to do a couple more personal bests afterwards.

“Abigail made her debut at her first big international meet in the 100m Backstroke! She warmed up well prior to the event and swam two personal bests in the one race for a three second personal best of 1:14. 69!” exclaimed Coach Rick Van der Zant. He was pleased with her effort.

“Her split at the 50m mark with feet on the wall was 34.66 was another personal best,” said Coach Rick Van der Zant.


Meanwhile, Tom and her 3 fellow swimmers competed well for team PNG as well as setting 4 personal best individually out of 8 races that they competed in. The team participated in Male Open 50m, 100m backstroke, mixed medley relay, 100 freestyle women’s event and Individual events respectively.


Each individual has done it for oneself in the respective events that they competed in such as Georgia-Leigh Vele who have also swum a personal best time of 61.17 in the ladies 100m freestyle event showing grit and determination as well as confidence to represent PNG in the Pacific Games.


The swimmers were led under the coaching guidance of Coach Rick Van der Zant and Team Manager Sarenah Pini.

“The Championships has provided us now with a direction to know where we are at and what we must do over the next 4 months leading into the Pacific Games,” said Team Manager Sarenah Pini.


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