Team PNG begins preparations for Samoa

Sports that will be part of Team PNG at the Pacific Games in Samoa next year have begun their preparations with the aim of achieving similar Games results like they did in 2015.

They gathered in Port Moresby last Saturday with the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee in the first Games workshop to share their plans, progress and Games targets.

President of the PNGOC, Sir John Dawanincura, said the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games presents this opportunity for Team PNG to create history on foreign soil.

He also pointed out that it was the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, who presented the team with this challenge at the end of the 2015 Pacific Games.

Sports Vice Minister, Wesley Raminai, in his keynote speech, encouraged sports to work together to achieve their goals and not focus on their individual agendas.

“As custodians of your respective sports I encourage you to run your sport following the principles of good governance and putting athletes first,” he said.

“There should be no place for factional disputes and politics in sports.  These will only negatively impact the progress of your sport.

“Sports unites PNG like no other influence. We saw that during the 2015 Pacific Games and I want to see Team PNG unite the nation again in 2019.”

Secretary General of the PNGOC, Auvita Rapilla, stressed that it is important to prepare well in advance if PNG is going to make an impact in Samoa

“We all know that preparing for top-level events at the elite level of sport should be done years in advance. In some sense we are already behind our toughest competitors.

“The host nation, Samoa; our traditional rivals, Fiji and of course the French powerhouses of Tahiti and New Caledonia are all preparing to wrestle away the title of Pacific’s best that we claimed in 2015.”

26 sports are on offer for the Pacific Games in Samoa and PNG will be aiming to compete in all of them.

At the workshop, representatives from these sports expressed their commitment to repeat Team PNG’s winning performance from 2015 where Team PNG claimed 88 gold, 69 silver and 60 bronze for a total of 217 medals to finish on top of the medal tally.

Troy Taule