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Former NIACC track and field standout Kaputin to compete in Olympics on Sunday

Former NIACC track and field standout Rellie Kaputin in Tokyo

TOKYO – Former NIACC track and field standout Rellie Kaputin will realize a lifelong dream Sunday night at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Kaputin, who competed at NIACC in 2014-15, will compete for her home country of Papua New Guinea in the preliminary rounds of the women’s long jump beginning at 7:50 p.m. (CDT). The finals are set for Tuesday.

Kaputin, who is 28 years old, qualified for the Olympics with a jump of 6.42 meters (21 feet, 0 3/4 inches) at the Festival of Athletics in Townsville, Queensland in June.

Kaputin was one of 32 athletes selected to compete in the women’s long jump.

Kaputin is one of eight Papua New Guinea athletes (four female and four male) that will be competing in the Summer Olympics and lone track and field athlete. The other Papua New Guinea athletes will compete in boxing (one), sailing (two), swimming (two) and weightlifting (two).

Kaputin is Papua New Guinea’s national record holder in the long jump (6.5 meters), triple jump (13.28 meters) and high jump (1.77 meters).

By comparison in the long jump at the 2016 Olympics, Kaputin’s personal-best jump of 6.5 meters would have placed her 13th in the qualifying round with the top 12 making the finals.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Kaputin’s goals are simple.

“I want to make it to the finals and also break my own national record of 6.5 meters,” she said.

Kaputin is the second NIACC athlete to compete in the Olympic Games. Former NIACC wrestler Joe Corso was a member of the United States Olympic team in 1976.

While at NIACC in 2014-15, Kaputin competed in all three of the jumps – long jump, triple jump and high jump.

Kaputin owns the school’s indoor track and field records in the long jump (5.79 meters in 2015), triple jump (12.22 meters in 2015) and high jump (1.70 meters) in 2015. She is the school’s outdoor track and field record holder in the long jump (5.91 meters in 2015) and triple jump (12.31 meters in 2015).

At the 2015 NJCAA indoor national meet, Kaputin placed third in the triple jump, sixth in the high jump and seventh in the long jump to help lead the Lady Trojans to a 10th-place finish with 22 points.

At the 2015 NJCAA outdoor national meet, Kaputin placed second in the triple jump and third in the long jump as the Lady Trojans placed seventh with 39 points.

At NCAA Division II West Texas A&M, Kaputin was a three-time national champion and 11-time all-American. She was also named USTFCCCA national field athlete of the year in 2017 after scoring 21 points at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.

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