Don’t use sports as a status symbol

Letters, Normal

IT is disheartening to see our Government using sports as a “status symbol” rather than being genuinely interested in raising the standard of the different sporting codes.
Whilst it is spending millions and now billions to bid for a team in the NRL and to host the 2015 SP Games, it is doing very little in the development of sports in the country.
We only get quality after identifying, developing and training our athletes.
It does not just happen instantaneously and out of thin air!
We have to plan ahead and decide where we want to be in the future before we go out to the world and beat our chests or make a “grandstand performance”.
High-achieving sporting nations like China and the former USSR made their mark at the Olympic level because their governments and athletes take their sports very seriously.
That also meant that their governments spent big time on sports development through elite training programmes, particularly targeting the junior level.
We boast about spending K3 billion to stage the 2015 SP Games and yet our performance at the mini SP Games is anything but satisfactory.
We are trying to get a PNG team in the NRL but there is still a lot to be done in improving the standard of rugby league back at home.
It is good to see the Government spending money to stage the PNG Games.
It is a great concept, but still it is not a good substitute for a holistic approach.
I call on the Government to support events such as pikinini sports or school boys’ rugby besides coming up with a comprehensive sports development programme for PNG.