JUST how prepared are we for next week’s 4th PNG Games in the nation’s capital?
This is the question on the minds of many who will be attending the country’s single largest sporting event since the 1991 South Pacific Games.
A cursory glance at two venues in Port Moresby, the main Sir John Guise Stadium (SJGS) and the Bisini softball diamonds, suggested a worrying story about how soon the organisers will have the facilities ready for the Games, starting next week.
Each venue has a small band of workers plodding away at the task, which is getting the facilities ready to cater for the expected influx athletes, officials and the public on Nov 19.
Workers at the site of the opening ceremony were busy laying the seating on the bleaches of the outer stands of SJGS.
Two PNG Games officials, both of whom asked to remain anonymous, admitted candidly that some facilities would not be ready by Thursday, including the main stadium.
One also raised concerns about the condition of some playing surfaces saying they were not at their optimum for continous daily use. PNG Games still on track. In spite of these shortcomings PNG Games event manageress Mary Karo said delays aside progress was staedy and she remained upbeat eight days out fromthe openning ceremony.
“We’re hopeful that all venues and facilities will be functional by next week. We’ll be ready for the opening ceremony.
“We had a misunderstanding with the PNG Sports Foundation earlier on about who was responsible for upgrading the stadium and that caused a delay.
“But the foundation has taken on the responsibility so hopefully we’ll get there,” she said.
Karo also gave an assurance that accomodation for visiting teams would not be an issue as schools around NCD had been prepared and allotted to teams.
“We have a number of schools in the city upgraded with classrooms allocated and ablution facilities installed for teams.”
On sporting venues Karo said the lack of some building materials had slowed down work but volleyball, basketball and netball would be completed in time.
“We’ve had shortfalls in funds and in other areas but I’m pleased to say that with the help of generous donours and the support from the governor of the host city Governor Powes Parkop we’ll pull through,” Karo said.
“This (the games) is for athletes and competitors, its their platform to shine.
The PNG Games scheduled for Nov 19-28 is expected to have an estimated 6000 athletes and officials from the 19 provinces participate in the largest sporting event in country.