Track, field championships attract more than 500 athletes


MORE than 500 athletes from 14 provinces are expected to be in Goroka today for the start of the three-day national track and field championships.
All five New Guinea Islands provinces have entered small teams as have Southern’s Oro, National Capital District and Gulf.
From the Mamose, Morobe will have the largest number of athletes with teams coming from Lae City, Ramu and Nawae while a team of 27 have travelled from Madang.
The Highlands region will be represented by teams from Goroka, Chuave, Kundiawa (Simbu), Mt Hagen (Western Highlands) and Banz in Jiwaka.
Keen competition is expected in the men’s sprints with Leeroy Kamau, Charles Livuan  and Michael Penny from East New Britain; Chris Pennie  and David Guka from Port Moresby;  Benjamin Aliel and Philip Joe (Morobe) being some of the emerging talent on show.
Letisha Pukaikia travelled from New Zealand to contest the open 100m and 200m along with Nancy Malamut (ENB) and Leonie Beu (Morobe – 200m).
Toea Wisil’s younger sister, Christina, will represent Jiwaka in the sprints. Fast times are expected in the 100m with the track dry and fast after a long spell of dry weather.
A number of 2017 Oceania Championship gold medallists will be competing, including Ephraim Lerkin Peniel Richard, Raylyne Kanam and Simbai Kaspar.
Lerkin took a well-earned break after the World Championships in London in August and will run the 800m this weekend instead of his usual 400m and 400m hurdles.
The Autonomous Region of Bouganville will be represented by two distance runners, Stanley Boas and Thaddeus Raina.
There will be large fields in all of the middle and long distance events.
Oceania Area and IAAF council member Geoff Gardner conducted a refresher course for technical officials yesterday and OAA executive director Yvonne Mullins will be working with the PNG Games Athletics competition manager Jacinta Langa on the ‘Meet Manager’ computerised entry and results system.
George Moramoro, PNG’s own photo finish expert, will be operating the electronic timing system.

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