By HENRY MORABANG
PNG Triathlon Association (PNGTA) yesterday unveiled its 2010 calendar at a press conference at the South Pacific Motors Club in Port Moresby.
The PNGTA, under a new executive headed by Stephen Sallun, wasted no time in announcing the calendar which includes four short courses, three children triathlon events, two sprints and relay events and an Olympic distance event.
Flanked by vice-president Scott Bishop, secretary Annette Coppola and treasurer Mark Anders, Sallun said his executive was keen on making the sport popular at the community level.
He said the association was proud to promote several sporting codes for Papua New Guineans to enjoy which also meant preparing athletes to be competitive in the Pacific and Oceania regions.
Sallun said the calendar would include the running of a mini triathlon, school events and a corporate triathlon as a build-up for the Olympics event later in the year.
The corporate tri-relay event will be held in Port Moresby this month, August and September.
The event set for September, will be under the banner of the National Capital District and will coincide with the Independence Day and Hiri Moale Festival.
He noted that the Sepik Iron Man in Wewak, East Sepik province, has built enough interest from the community to take the sport to another level.
Sallun said the Olympic event in November would set a new phase for athletes to be selected for the Arafura Games in Darwin and the Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia next year.
Coppola said triathlon was new in PNG but had generated a lot of interest within a short time.
A growing number of Papua New Guineans are changing their lifestyles with a lot more emphasis and focus on sports and healthy living.
She said the association was intending to make a difference in PNG not only in sports, but socially, by forming sub-committees on HIV/AIDS awareness, training and coaching.
She also encouraged more girls and women to join the triathlon.
“I can do it and you can do it too,” she said.
Scott said he had been a triathlete for the last 18 months after he first tried out the Sepik Ironman.
“There is a lot of potential for children in PNG to get exposed to the sport with a chance of travelling overseas. There is a lot of potential if we nurture the national ability,” he said.
“It is a sport for everyone to have a go. It is really easy to swim and run,” he added.