Choong proud to play for her country of birth

Normal, Sports

The National, Wednesday October 23rd, 2013

 PAPUA New Guinea debutant Meiling Choong says she is excited and proud to be given another chance to represent the country of her birth. 

Choong, 24, was called in to the final squad following two trial camps held in Port Moresby recently.

The aspiring fly-half said that it had been her dream of one day playing for PNG.

“I was shocked but excited at the same time,” she said.

Choong arrived in the country on Sunday to be with the team, who are currently in camp preparing for the Asia Pacific 7s Championship in Shanghai, China, which will be staged this weekend.

Currently living in Shenzhen city, Choong, whose mother comes from Wamira village in the Milne Bay province and father from Malaysia, says she is looking forward to getting behind her team.

“I just want to go out and experience what its like to play for my country, get behind my team and learn as much as I can to better myself for future tournaments,” she said.

“The girls have been really welcoming ever since I joined the team. I’m excited to put on that red, black and gold jersey.”

In 2006, after 10 years of living in Port Moresby, Choong and her family moved to live in Malaysia.

“I must say PNG people have so much passion and pride for sports. I’m glad I grew up in the country. I think that is where my athletic side comes from,” she quipped.

Choong was more into soccer until she joined the Royal Selangor women’s rugby union club in Malaysia.

“It was a bit tough for women to play contact sports in Malaysia. Sport is not an important part of everyones lives especially for women and girls,” she said.

She then went on to join the women’s rugby 15s Dingo club but played 7s on several occasions.

“Not so many women play rugby back in Malaysia. You’ll find that most of them play soccer so it was quite hard getting competition and game time their,” she recalled.

Along the way she trialled for the national rugby 7s team and made the cut.

Her first international tournament was at the 2010 Hongkong 7s where PNG also attended.

While living in Shenzhen, Choong travels three times a week to Hong Kong to play rugby.

Choong and the rest of the Palais depart for Shanghai tomorrow.