The National, Wednesday 30th November 2011
By ZACHERY PER
SIXTY participants took part in a 5km race for the inaugural Unggai-Bena endurance challenge in Eastern Highlands last Sunday.
Technical coordinator Philip Kamane signalled the start of the 5km race near Sioke Primary School.
Thirty men competed in the 5km while the women ran in 3km races.
Technical staff from the National Sports Institute helped Kamane and PNG Sports Foundation official Samu Sasamu to provide facilities for the race.
Unggai-Bena MP Benny Allan and Bintangor Goroka Lahanis franchise owner Simon Sia, coach Peter Danga and team manager Joe Isaro were among the participants.
The race, an initiative of Allan, was sponsored by the Unggai-Bena Coffee Cooperative.
Sia contributed K1,000 while Nowek Coffee Ltd representative Terry Shirley donated K200 to the race.
The winners of the event walked away with cash prizes, presents and certificates of participation. Allan said he would make the endurance challenge an annual event for Ungai-Bena and planned to include the other districts in the province.
“Since the inaugural challenge was successful, next year’s event will be held in Unggai mountain. We will make it an annual event to give youths and people hope and encourage them to grow more coffee,” he said.
He said the event would give the youths an opportunity to identify their hidden talents and expose them in big competitions like the PNG Games.
“Unggai-Bena wants to be different from the rest, we have K100,000 to support athletes from the district to make Team Eastern Highlands for the PNG Games next year in Kokopo.
“Each athletes from the district selected will receive K1,000 each,” Allan said.
The athletes were grouped into school children, youths and the elderly in both genders.
In the school girls category, Stephanie Inua picked up the prize, while Susan Kai won in the youth group and Josephine Asosa took out the award in the elderly women’s division.
In the male category, Jona Hobeku (boys), Kilsen Bili (youth) and Ani Kay (elderly men) won awards.
To top off the afternoon, local boys held a boxing event at Lahame, the site of the new Unggai-Bena district office.