THE PNG Paralympics Youth Team is confident of putting on a good show if not a gold medal or two at the 2009 Paralympics Youth Games currently underway in Melbourne, Australia.
The one-week competition kicked off yesterday and ends on Oct 11.
PNG Paralympics coach Peter Pulu said prior to the team’s departure on Sunday that the four young Paralympians trained hard since last month and would fare well at the games.
The four athletes are Chris Tatavue, who will take part in field events, discuss, shotput and javelin and Elias Pagur who will compete in under 14 discus, javelin; long jump and triple jump; Laho Maiaka will compete in 200m and 100m along with Paralympian Joyleen Jeffrey from East Sepik.
Pulu, the former champion PNG sprinter who decided to give something back to the sports was tasked to look after the Paralympics team.
During the final trials at Sir John Guise athletic tracks, both Jeffrey and Maiaka recorded their personal best in the 100m and 200m respectively.
The Wewak-based Jeffrey set a personal best time in 100m when she crossed the line in 14.82sec while Laho also set his personal best with 15.15 sec.
In the 200m, Jeffrey beat her own personal best of 32.60sec with a new time of 30.71sec while Laho also had a good run against the wind to cross the finishing line in 32.31sec beating his own personal best of 32.69sec.
Pulu said Laho’s new personal best time was equivalent to the senior elite Paralympics runners like Elias Larry.
The bolter in the team is 13-year-old Pagur who is a grade five student at Kalamanagunan Primary School in Kokopo.
Nicknamed Skippy, Pagur has been producing wonders in the long jump.
His personal best was 3.25m but has been training consistently under the watchful eyes of Pulu.
The president of PNG Paralympics Committee Bernard Chan was an excited man yesterday to see a one-legged athlete leaping over 3m in long jump.
“He is no doubt our gold medal prospect in this event and we’re hoping he does well,” he said.
Chan said all these four Paralympics athlete are part of the junior programs who were identified to take the sport to next level.
He appealed to all parents and guardians to give their full support their kids when they want to take part in the sports.