International hockey boss promises more competition in PNG

The Federation of International Hockey (FIH) president Leandro Negre has promised more international competitions to be held in Papua New Guinea after meeting PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkachenko and visiting the new artificial turf built for the Pacific

“Yes, my first trip here, I’m very pleased and also to be here for the Pacific Games is very important for FIH to follow these championships are very important.

“The turf is fantastic, yeah. Its like the Olympic pitch in London, we are very pleased, here you have a full nice venue and after talking with the Minister of Sports we are very glad because we have a plan to allocate here a lot of hockey tournaments,” said the Spaniard.

Hockey makes a return to the Pacific Games after a lapse of 36 years. It was last competed at the 1979 South Pacific Games in Suva, Fiji.

The FIH president said World League Series Rounds 1 which has been staged in Fiji can now take place in Port Moresby.

“We can have Rounds 1 and 2 (World League Series) here but also we can get the South East of Asia, they can join the Pacific Islands and to make a big tournament altogether,” said Negre.

He is also delighted that two new countries Tonga and Solomon Islands have joined the hockey family in the region.

Minister Tkachenko has revealed that a second artificial turf adjacent to the current one at Sir John Guise Arena will be built.

Oceania Hockey Federation president Pam Elgar of New Zealand shares the same sentiments about the new turf as the FIH boss.

“It’s absolutely fantastic for us. Its been a long term goal to have hockey as a sport back in the Pacific Games. So we absolutely ecstatic and that’s why Leandro Negre our International President has come to show support. 

“In fact now that we are back in the Pacific Games, we’d like to stay.

“We’re very excited to see fantastic facility down here and to have our International president and most importantly to have two new countries – Solomon Islands and Tonga here for the first time, so I’m very excited about the whole thing,” Elgar said.

Fiji Hockey Federation president Dr Robin Mitchell said the sport of hockey is delighted that FIH president Negre came to PNG from his busy schedules.

“I think its very good for hockey.

“And hockey from what I here amongst the different sports, their development office has been quiet active in making sure that the teams get here and provide financial and coaching support.

“And talking to the president tonight he’s looking at how he could help Solomons and Tonga.”

Dr Mitchell was a member of the Fiji gold medal winning team in 1979 at the National Stadium in Suva.

Negre departed Port Moresby for the Pam American Games and a series of meetings with National Olympic Committees in Central America.