Pacific sprint king Banuve Tabakaucoro confirms retirement

Pacific and Fiji sprint king Banuve Tabakaucoro has announced his retirement, with less than 100 days to go before the 2023 Honiara Games.

The announcement means the 2023 Pacific Games will have a new winner in the men's 100m and 200m.

In an exclusive interview with Fiji One on Monday, Tabakaucoro said the "decision was definitely a hard one" but one that he had been contemplating for over a year since competing at the Pacific Mini Games in the Northern Marianas last June, where he won gold in the 100m.

The 30-year-old, who holds the Pacific record in the 100 and 200 metres events, represented Fiji at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

He is also the only athlete in the Pacific Games history to win gold in both the 100 metres and 200 metres in 3 consecutive Pacific Games in 2011, 2015 and 2019 games.

"I had discussion with my wife and dad wanting to step out," Tabakaucoro told Fiji One.

"It is sad, but you know I have finally decided to retire, and I applaud them for respecting my decision."

Tabakaucoro, a former student of the renowned Marist Brothers High School in Suva known to produce national athletes and rugby players, clocked a personal best of 10.20 seconds in the 100m and 20.53 seconds in the 200m.

He has represented Fiji at several regional and international events since starting his athletics career at nine years old.

He also had a short stint at playing for the national sevens rugby team.

Nicknamed the "Bau Bullet" - Bau is a small chiefly island where he hails from - he told Fiji One "it is time to move on and move on to better things".

"He wants to see other athletes step up and dominate the tracks," Fiji One reported.

"I definitely believe that in the future Fiji will produce a much faster sprinter than me...and I personally believe that there is enough talent in this country. We really need to see that is the sport is to grow."