BERLIN - Finishing last behind the lithe sprinters in her 100m heat, the burly shape of shot-putter Savannah Sanitoa was an unusual sight, but no-one could fault her commitment to race in Berlin.
Having missed the qualification mark for her usual shot-put event, Sanitoa opted to take up the wildcard on offer in the 100m, which meant a 22-hour flight to cover the 15000km from the Pacific island of American Samoa to Berlin's Olympic Stadium.
With a land mass of just under 200 square-kilometres and a population of 65000, American Samoa is more famous for producing powerful American Football and rugby players - but Sanitoa was delighted to run here for her country.
She clocked a season's best of 14.23secs to finish last in her heat - her personal best is 14.07 - but the chance to run on the same track as the world's fastest sprinters clearly meant the world to her.
"It's a personal best just for me to be here at the worlds, we have little competitions back home, but to be here amongst the best in the world is pretty exciting," said the 22-year-old student who is about to join the US army.
American Samoa has produced several American Football stars who have graced the NFL, including Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, whose family come from the island.
And the national soccer team has the distinction of suffering the worst loss in international soccer history when they were beaten 31-0 by Australia in a Fifa World Cup qualifying match in 2001.
"Altogether, it was a 22-hour journey to get here. I had to fly to the US, then to London and then to Berlin," she said.
"We don't travel much in Samoa and we normally use boats. I have to leave on Tuesday (yesterday) because I'm going back to school, and my coach has to get back to her kids."
She painted a picture of athletics on the sun-kissed idyllic island where running shoes are far from common place. - Sapa-AFP