Biggest volleyball tourney sets off in Lae

Normal, Sports


THE Digicel National Volleyball Championship started yesterday at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium at Voco Point, Lae, with the opening ceremony.
PNG Volleyball Federation president Turaho Morea said the championships would feature 21 associations from centres around PNG in the U21 and open divisions.
Morea told the players the games were not only to win but to qualify the support that comes with it.
“Remember that you are not only representing you but the generosity of your parents and the sponsors,” he said.
The U21 competition started after the opening ceremony to be followed by the grand final tomorrow.
The open challenge will start today and end on Sunday with the finals.
Host committee member Kila John of the Huon Volleyball Association, said this year’s theme for the championship was volleyball for a change.
“We have to use this sport as a means of recognition for the players and relate closely with them, as this will instill discipline at the junior level which will help in the upbringing of the youths,” he said.
He thanked Digicel for its continuous support with a total of K80,000 to run the event.
Digicel regional manager Darren Moore said the company was committed to supporting volleyball.
“We feel that the association is well run and we will continue to support the sport until the next Arafura Games so have fun, play safe and fair,” he said.
Morea said Lae City was expected to come alive with the biggest volley championship in history with more than 800 players and officials participating.
Some of the teams competing are champions Vabukori, Madang, NCD, Tabubil, Tatana, Markham, Huon, Fairfax, Oro Bay and Popondetta, among others.
Twenty-two teams are taking part in the men’s senior division while 16 in the women’s category
Thirteen are confirmed for the U21 men’s divisions and 10 women’s teams for the same category.
Arafura Games gold medallists and six-time national champions, Vabukori men’s and their women are the current title holders from last year’s tournament held in Kokopo. 
Morea thanked supporting sponsors Prima, Trukai, BNG Trading and Lae Biscuit for their support.
He said the event was the climax of the PNG Volleyball Federation’s week of activities in Lae which began with a summit on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the AGM on Wednesday and the opening yesterday.
He said the volleyball summit was facilitated by Brian Minikin of the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) and PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee deputy secretary-general Auvita Rapilla.
“The summit covered a wide range of issues relating to organisational structure, national coaching and refereeing accreditation, 2015 grassroots to gold project, junior competition, Olympic beach volleyball qualification, super league concept and the sports place policy on HIV/AIDS,” he said.