marie-estelle-mahukThe office of Van2017 has been gaining momentum within the last month in the recruitment of more staff, to help drive its preparations towards the upcoming Pacific Games in December 2017.

CEO Clint Flood stated that as more staff come on board, the Van2017 office is particularly proud to highlight the diversity of skills and experience that its current staff come with.

All expressions of interest in available positions are welcomed, and for those who make it through to an initial interview, a meticulous screening process ensures before is carefully selected.

Mary Estelle Mahuk/ formally Kapalu, is one such staff member.

Known throughout Vanuatu as our one and only Golden Mama, Mary has always strived to do her absolute very best and has succeeded in living up to this name time and time again with an impressive history of athletic performances Internationally.

In hearing Mahuk’s credible athletic legacy she explained that the name Queen of 400m also arose because during her time, no female athlete in the whole Pacific region was faster than she was in 400m.

“I held the Pacific games record for this event (400m) for over 13 years before it was finally broken in Suva when Fiji hosted the Pacific Games,” she said. “Additionally, my 400m hurdles stood for over 20years before it was finally broken last year in the 2015 Pacific Games in PNG.”

Being a competitive athlete has obviously come with a lot of personal challenges. As the only female representing Vanuatu from 1980s to 2000 in athletics, competition uniforms were made for men only.

Mahuk often had no choice but to wear men’s shorts and oversize T-shirts which she herself modified by sewing the sleeves to shorten them, tying the sleeves at the back, or tugging them in to her bra. For the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Mahuk decided to make her own uniform.

She explained,“I bought material and asked a tailor to sew it for me whilst in Sydney.

“I then ordered the same design for competition and training uniforms for team Vanuatu, who she was training at the time in order for them to participate in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Those same designs are still used by Athletics Vanuatu to this day.

Mahuk was delighted after being interviewed by current CEO Flood to assist him as an assistant office administrator because he was working alone.

“With my experience in sports as an athlete, sport teacher and administrator, I have been given a new role as Sports and Pacific Games Association (PGA) Relations, looking after the 24 PGAs in the region that will be here for the games in December 2017,” she said.

“I owe my job to late Joe BCarlo for hiring me on board with Van2017 team.

“I am thrilled as a former champion for Vanuatu to be part of the Van2017 team to deliver the Vanuatu 2017 Pacific games for our youths of the Pacific. There is nothing better than doing what I have enjoyed all throughout my life and again for my country. I am passionate about sports and although age has caught up with me, I am still active to contribute back to my country administratively, and to leave a legacy for the youths of tomorrow.” READ MORE