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SPECIAL OLYMPICS ASIA PACIFIC GAMES: TUA & MEREDITH WIN GOLD FOR AM SAM

Apati Tua has won a gold medal for American Samoa at the Special Olympics after placing first in her women's 100-meter division in what has turned out to be a big Day 3 for the track and field athletes. (L-R) Coach Minnie Talataina; Justin Lutu (3rd place ribbon — shot put); Gold Medal winner Tua; Lita Lulai (Bronze— women's 100 meters) and coach Valusia Talataina. Read story in today’s Sports section. [photo: Brian Vitolio]

Apati Tua has won a gold medal for American Samoa after placing first in her women's 100 meter division at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games in Newcastle, Australia in turned out to be a big day for the track and field athletes at the .
 
Lita Lulai won a bronze in her division for the women's 100 while Justin Lutu won a ribbon for placing third in his shot put bracket.
 
All these awards are following on the heels of Dennis Vaiga's silver medal in shot put on December 3.
 
Lutu finished third in his division and only received a ribbon because his throws were disqualified.  Also, one of his throws broke the barrier for his division, going beyond the 4 meters during one of his disqualified throws.
 
The committee opted to award a gold medal for first and ribbons for second place all the way to fifth in Lutu's division.
 
"We were just hoping for the best because this is their first time competing," said Valusia Talataina, who, along with wife Minnie are the coaches for the Special Olympics Track f& Field team. "But our athletes just came out and performed so well they put themselves on the podium."
 
"We've got three medals — a gold, silver and bronze — and a ribbon from four of our five athletes—more than we expected," he said.  "Now we have one more athlete to go, Lauren Meredith in the shot put."
 
"They had been training really well and we are very happy with their results so far," Minnie Talataina said.
 
UPDATE
 
Lauren Meredith won a gold medal in shot put and the 5-aside soccer team settled for silver after they lost to the Philippines, 4-1 in yesterday’s contests.  Details as they become available.



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