Athletics PNG pulls out as host

Stadium not ready to host regional events, says Green

ATHLETICS Papua New Guinea (APNG) has withdrawn from hosting this year’s Melanesian Championships and Oceania Combined Events Championships due to lack of preparedness, says an official.
APNG advised the Oceania Athletic Association (OAA) last week that Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise Stadium had not met the standards required to stage the events since the country was named as host last May.
“Unfortunately, no progress has been made in terms of addressing the matter of facilities and equipment since we were awarded the event,” APNG president Tony Green said in a statement yesterday.
“In the absence of firm quotations for the cost of necessary repairs and replacement, we have not been able to get a written commitment from the PNG Sports Foundation (PNGSF) that the venue would be ready in time.
“We also understand that government funding is extremely tight at the moment.”
He said the Oceania Combined Events Championships, as an area championships, was a high-ranking international event which may well be used for Olympic qualifying purposes.
“Therefore the equipment and facilities must be in excellent condition,” Green said.
“We did not have the option to let this one go and keep the Melanesian Championships, and after careful consideration of the matter, APNG conveyed to OAA on Jan 5 its decision to withdraw from hosting these events.”
The event was initially scheduled to be held at Lautoka’s Churchill Park — a multi-purpose stadium — in Fiji but was offered to Papua New Guinea after OAA was told of the venue’s unavailability.
However, the venue has now been confirmed to the Melanesian Championships from June 24-25.
Green said with APNG’s success in the Pacific Games last year, it was a good time for them to reset and plan for future.
“We know that the athletes have been really looking forward to the Melanesian Championships and with the PNG Games being deferred as well, this is another blow,” he said.
“But on balance, we believe this decision was necessary in the interests of the sport.
“APNG wishes to thank PNGSF for its tremendous support last year and will continue working with it to bring international athletic events to Papua New Guinea in the future.”
Attempts last night to get a comment from Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation chief executive Peter Tsiamalili Jr were unsuccessful.


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