Samoan shot putter Shaka Sola missed his flight to the world athletics championships but won loud cheers from an amused crowd Tuesday as he came last in the men's javelin qualifying competition instead.
"You will not see me with a javelin again unless you come to Samoa and I catch you a fish," said Sola, whose first throw of 38.31 meters was more than 46.5 meters behind Russian Sergey Makarov, the reigning world champion who won Group A.
"I missed my flight," explained the Wellington-based Samoan, who has a personal best of 18.50 meters in the shot and added a new one of 41.18 in the javelin with his second throw.
That effort earned him a deafening roar of support at the Olympic Stadium and prompted the announcer to ask anyone in the stands who had thrown over 40 meters to raise their hands.
Not many went up.
"They were lucky, they were very lucky. People like Adam Nelson are very lucky," Sola laughed, referring to the American who won the men's shot put gold Saturday with 21.73.
But the Samoan said had enjoyed his new experience, adding: "I loved it. Why not. You could not get a better crowd."
Asked what he had learned from his fellow competitors, Sola said: "They gave me a good tip -- javelin is not your thing!" Source