Valentine Hello on her way to claiming the Gold Medal at the recent Pacific Mini Games

Vanuatu athletes Bradley Toa and Valentine Hello have earned scholarships to the prestigious International Association of Athletics Federations Oceania High Performance Training Centre.

The HPTC Oceania, located in Australia, currently boasts regional athletes such as Patricia Taea (Cook Islands) and Toea Wisil (Papua New Guinea) among its elite training talent.

Following confirmation from HPTC Oceania, both athletes will travel to the Gold Coast and be given full funding for training in their respective disciplines along with full sponsorship to facilitate participation at International Athletics events.

David Putunvanu, Athletics Vanuatu CEO, has confirmed the selection of the two athletes was based on their strong performances at the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in December, as well as other criteria considered by the Executive Selection Committee.

The Training Centre has excellent facilities and has built a strong reputation for developing sprinters such as Bradley Toa.

“Bradley showed that he was at the top of his class in Vanuatu as our premier sprinter during the Pacific Mini Games, and given that, the Selection Committee believed that in order to further develop, this was the best option and opportunity for him, given the facilities available at HPTC,” said Putunvanu.

Hello’s selection has come as a result of her spectacular Gold medal performance at the Van2017 PMG earning her praise from the very best within the International Athletics community.

“Valentine’s selection comes following a major push from the IAAF for gender equality,” said Putunvanu.

“Her performance at the [Pacific Mini] Games backed this up and made our decision to send her even easier considering how much raw talent and drive she has.

“For [the Selection Committee] she was a perfect example for future female athletes and has the talent to grow, having already become Vanuatu’s number one women’s runner.”

The Oceania HPTC is part of the IAAF Development Strategy and one of seven such training centres around the world.

The elite facility provides a centre of excellence for the training and development of international class athletes and coaches under the direct management and supervision of the IAAF.

Both Hello and Toa are expected to begin on their elite training pathway following the 2018 Commonwealth Games which begins on the Gold Coast on the 4th of April.

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor

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