SPORTS Vice-Minister Wesley Raminai, pictured, has challenged Team Papua New Guinea to aim for top spot on the overall medal tally at the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.
In his welcome remarks to Team PNG at the Sir John Guise Indoor Stadium in Port Moresby yesterday, Raminai said in 2023, “we have to aim for top spot in the Solomon Islands”.
He said preparations should start now.
PNG were labouring in sixth spot after week one at the Samoa Games, but a solid effort by athletics, powerlifting and touch football helped the country overhaul the hosts, Australia, Tahiti and Fiji for second.
He said the James Marape-led Government was fully supportive of Team PNG’s Games endeavours, with the commitment set by former prime minister Peter O’Neill.
“We are committed and with the mutual understanding between the PNG Sports Foundation and PNG Olympic Committee, we’ll deliver our aims and objectives at the Pacific Games,” Raminai said.
“We have the facilities here with the High Performance Training Centre unlike previous years where we recruited (officials) from overseas to do this but now we have our own personnel to conduct these programmes.
“We came from behind to finish second after New Caledonia with an excellent gold-medal haul in week two.
“This made us proud with the 38 gold we won.
“We put on a wonderful display and fantastic performance to surge into second spot.
“Pacific sprint champion Toea Wisil set records in the 100m, 200m and 400m to make it a clean sweep at the Games for the third consecutive time which no female in the Pacific has done.
“Others who made waves are touch football with a clean sweep in the men’s, women’s and mixed-team divisions.
“We beat hosts and reigning champions Samoa in the mixed-team division to claim all three gold.”
Team PNG will have a celebration at Ela Beach on Saturday, with the event open to the public.