WHILE several provinces have made public their struggles in raising the necessary funds to fly teams to the 5th PNG Games in Port Moresby this month, others like Team Eastern Highlands have had the good fortune of a benevolent provincial government and numerous donations from the community.
The provincial government, local MPs, local businesses and the people of Eastern Highlands have rallied behind the provincial team pumping in K70,000 last week in a drive held by organisers.
The team’s official launching and and first corporate dinner last Thursday netted organisers the K70,000 with Ungai-Bena MP Benny Allan kicking off proceedings with a K16,000 donation.
Goroka MP Thompson Harokaqveh then presented a cheque for K20,000 to the Team EHP steering committee chairman John Grimiseve while Daulo MP Kondo Patrick committed K10,000 to the night’s fundraising.
Other donations came from a wide spectrum of the community both business houses and individuals showing how seriously Eastern Highlanders were taking the games.
Team EHP plans to send 411 athletes and technical officials and support staff, while a further 80 will be made up of provincial government representatives.
In total, Team EHP requires K600,000 to send its contingent to the Games scheduled for Nov 19-28.
EHP provincial government spokesman Gideon Korarome said they were looking at meeting the travelling costs of the team but would confirm this at a provincial executive council meeting on Thursday.EHP aim to win Games.“The provincial government is behind the team and will support the team to get them to the Port Moresby next week,” Korarome said.
Other provincial MPs have pledged their support this week and are expected to come through with organisers having a two-fold objective at the games.
“We want to bring one of the biggest teams to the games so we can achieve our two main aims: to win the 5th PNG Games, and to bring back the games to Goroka in 2011,” Gimiseve said.
Eastern Highlands has hosted the PNG Games on two occasions (2003 and 2005) and have won it both times.
More fundraising drives are planned for this week with a live radio broadcast on Thursday expected to rake further pledges from the community.
So far the majority of the athletes have paid their K500 levy fee with several districts subsidising fees for its local athletes and organisers anticipate K200,000 to be collected.
Team EHP plan to arrive in Port Moresby next Monday and will be accomodated at Taurama Barracks Primary School.