Live results | Oceania Melanesian Games website | Aggie Rundown: Fijian Pride (video)
SUVA, Fiji - Abhineet Ram spent four seasons representing UC Davis as a thrower on the men's track and field team but will turn his attention this week to competing for his native Fiji at the Melanesian Championships being held through Saturday at ANZ Stadium in Suva.
Ram, who was born in Fiji and later graduated from Sequoia High School in Redwood City, will compete in the men's open hammer throw on Friday afternoon (Thursday evening, PDT). Sixteen teams representing several South Pacific countries are scheduled to be represented at the championships, including Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
Besides serving as a championship for open, under-18 and Paralympic competitors, the meet also serves as the final opportunity for athletes in the region to pick up qualifying marks for next month's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which has increased attendance by some of the teams. Approximately 700 athletes are in action, including approximately 230 from Fiji.
His family returned to Fiji in 2002 and he's looking forward to not only competing in front of them this week but also bringing his event to more throwers in his country.
"Most of the throwers have never seen the hammer throw and it was nice to hear them say that they want to learn," he said.
Ram was a four-year member of the Aggies, primarily as a hammer thrower but he also competed earlier in his career in the shot put and discus. His improvement in the hammer -- one of track and field's most complicated and difficult events -- was significant. Ram had a PR of 139 feet, 6 inches during his freshman season in 2013 but improved to 178-9 while finishing second at this year's Woody Wilson Classic. He represented UC Davis at three Big West Championships.
Opening ceremonies for the Melanesian Championships were held on Wednesday.