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Gold rush as Wakka Wakka man Law runs riot at Pacific Games

Andrew Mathieson -

Emerging Indigenous star Caleb Law has single-handedly broken a Fijian stranglehold on the sprint events at the Pacific Games after an authoritative 200 metres finish that ended Friday with a gold double.

The 19-year-old will head back to the Sunshine Coast after clean sweeping the 100 and 200m blue-ribbon races amid near flawless runs on the new Honiara track.

While Australian teammate Lachlan Kennedy seriously challenged the eventual 100m gold medallist ahead of a strong come-from-behind victory, Law never appeared troubled throughout the second of his finals three days later.

Law established a pronounced early lead to finish the 200m in 20.60 seconds ahead of Papua New Guinean pair Leroy Kamau in 21:24 and Daniel Baul in 21:36.

"It feels good – really super good," Law said on a social media interview at trackside.

"Before the (final) race, I was pretty tired.

"But nothing caffeine can't fix, right?

"I was pretty tired, pretty sore coming in.

"But I knew it was only one more race, so I just smashed it out.

"I mean, that was my sixth race (of the Pacific Games)."

Earlier in the day, Law smoked the semi-final to a point that he began turning around multiple times to check the lanes of his rivals and slowing down heading into the final 50 metres of the 200m after pulling out to a massive lead of nearly the same distance.

In only Australia's second Pacific Games for its athletics team to assist the competitors towards qualifying for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the Wakka Wakka man leaped out of the blocks in the final, defying a storied sprint history that dates back to 1995.

Fiji previously claimed gold in the past seven men's 100 and 200m finals at the Pacific Games until Law's arrival in the Solomon Islands this week.

Pacific Games organisers are already hoping that Law will do the honourable thing by defending both of his titles, but as he said on Tuesday night after completing the first of his two events successfully, "four years is a long time, so we'll see".

For the time-being, continuing his own legacy is the last thing that is on Law's mind.

"The next couple of months, I'm going to go home, have a bit of a rest, and then my coach and I will figure something out," Law said.

"I have no idea, but we'll see."

Banuve Tabakaucoro was the last of the Fijians to dominate the track, having won an extraordinary six gold across both events in 2011, 2015 and 2019.

Jone Delai returned to win the 100m in 2007, after first securing gold 12 years earlier in French Polynesia across both the 100 and 200m, while Niko Verekauta took out the 200m in addition to the 400m gold in Samoa.

John Lum Kon was another dual Pacific champion in 2003, four years before Moave Vu claimed the 1999 gold in the 100m, with Aminiasi Babitu taking the 200 and 400m that same year.

Law's times that are more important than winning gold, with the eye on the Olympics next year, has slowly crept on ending an Indigenous record while also bettering the personal 200m best of retired First-Nations Australian great.

Kaantju man Patrick Johnson, who like Law ran the 100m, recorded his best time of 20.35 in 2006 at Malmo in his pet event.


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