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PAPUA New Guinea’s swimming sensation Ryan Pini has come out of semi-retirement to deliver his first gold medal in the pool on home soil.

The three-time Olympic swimmer in 2004, 2008 and 2012 blitzed the field in a time of 26.14 seconds to win the 50 metre backstroke.

He led from the start to finish, ahead of Tahiti’s Teiki Dupont who came second in 26.98 for silver and Julien-Pierre Goyetche of New Caledonia third in 27.24 taking the bronze medal.

"Swimming on home ground and winning gold is right up there with the Commonwealth Games gold medal," Pini said after his win last night. He admitted that it was a challenge that there was no swimming pool to train in as work was underway to build this new world calls swimming facility and also his wife giving birth three weeks ago, but he said there was really no pressure. Pini has won many medals at the South Pacific Games between 1999 and 2011, as well as winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and also became PNG’s first ever finalist in an Olympics.

With more than 20 gold medals in the SP Games starting in 2003 to 2011, the gold medal last night at the BSP Arena Aquatic Centre was sweet and Pini ranks this gold medal win among the top achievements of his swimming career because it was on home soil. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was on hand to present the medals to the winners.

Ryan who is competing for the last time in this year’s Pacific Games will retire and hopes to end his career on a high note was given the loudest support during the finals.

Although the timing is outside of his personal best and Pacific Games time of 25.88, a gold medal in front of the home crowd is a fitting farewell to a man a hero who has represented the country well. The other Papua New Guineans who qualified for the finals last night did not get medals but gave their best included 20-year- old Sam Seghers who came fourth in 200 metre freestyle final and Ryan Maskelyne and Ashley Seeto did their best in the 100 metre breaststroke finals.

Story Courtesy of Post Courier

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