Fiji’s Heleina Young sets her sights on her first Pacific Games gold medal

Nineteen-year old Fijian athlete, Heleina Young travels to Samoa this weekend, with one thing on her mind and that is to win gold.

The former Saint Joseph’s Secondary School student is determined to succeed in her 100m and 200m events.

“Preparation has been tough. “I’ve been competing in high school competitions and overseas too. As expected, it has been tough so preparation has to move up another notch. But other than that, everything has been going on well,” Young said.

She was recognised for her ability in running fast at a very young age.

“I started when I was 7 years old at that time and my teachers had put me to run in the Under 9’s. And ever since then, I didn’t stop. My love for athletics just grew and it made me want to achieve better,” Young said.

“I’ve been to other international competitions and I have seen how different it is compared to Coca Cola Games, and it is really tough. I realized that I have to be more committed than I was before.”

Young who earned the nickname “Road Runner” in high school said following a diet programme was new for her.

“In Coca Cola Games, I never considered going on diets and just ate whatever. But coming in to represent my country in international competitions and Pacific Games, my coach has been really strict on me in that terms. Even on my sleep, I had to cut down times with my friends and all.”

Young, who was also named in the Fiji Women’s Junior Hockey team in 2014, made her first international debut in athletics at the 2015 Ligue De Nouvelle Caledonie D’Athletisme in New Caledonia.

She finished 3rd in the Open Women’s 100m final in a time of 12.98s. 

Young acknowledged her family’s support for her participation in athletics.

“My family has been really supportive ever since I got into the sport. And now coming closer to the games, they know what I want and so they don’t really have to ask and just being there for me all the way.”

Young travels to Apia with the Fiji Athletics Team to compete in the Pacific Games on Saturday.


Josephine Navula