TWO Papua New Guinea weightlifters left the country on Sunday for New Caledonia on training scholarships worth K42,000 funded through Oceania Weightlifting Training Centre (OWTC), Olympic Solidarity, Trukai Industries and Pacific MMI Insurance.
The OWTC have awarded siblings Rita and Stephen Kari one year scholarships to train in preparation for the Commonwealth Games and Youth Olympic Games (if Stephen qualifies). Their scholarship covers accommodation and coaching fees.
This scholarship under OWTF is co-sponsored by the PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee through last year’s National Activities grant under Olympic Solidarity and the 2009 Trukai grant which covers their airfares and weekly allowances for meals and incidentals while their travel and health insurance is sponsored by Pacific MMI Insurance.
The PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (PNGSFOC) will be applying to the International Olympic Committee for Interim Scholarships to subsidise their training budget as part of their preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Both athletes left on Sunday to start their training under Oceania’s high performance coach Paul Coffa.
Twenty-year-old Rita knows that her training will be tough but she is willing to give it her best
“I know it will be a long stay away from home, but I am looking ahead, looking forward to training and I will be doing my duty as an athlete out there and I will prove that I can do it,” Rita said.
Her 16-year-old brother Stephen was a lot more reserved, he said: “I am looking forward to doing my best in New Caledonia and improving on my previous lifts.”
Although both were sad to leave their families behind, going with their parents’ blessings and support gives them strength to face the challenges that lay ahead.
Rita and her brother were most grateful for the support from the PNGSFOC, their sponsors Trukai Industries Limited and Pacific MMI Insurance, their parents and coach Douglas Mea saying “without all their collective support we wouldn’t have achieved our dreams like this and we will be good ambassadors for Papua New Guinea.”
An emotional father, Toua Kari, said he was happy and sad at the same time, proud that his children would be representing the country and sad that they would be leaving him, he urged the leaders and government to recognise young athletes he went off on such events as ambassadors for the country.
Soft-spoken mother Joanne Kari, encouraged her children to take heed of their parents’ advice at all times and train hard.
PNGSFOC secretary-general, Sir John Dawanincura, reminded the athletes that they must remember a lot of effort and funds was being invested in them and they had to justify that investment by three sponsors by producing results.
Sir John advised them in the presence of their parents that: “This is a great opportunity for you both to be training at this level and I encourage you to make the most of this and work on improving your technique and overall performance and above all stay focused and committed.”