From Bava to London on Mv PNGPCL

Normal, Weekender

The National, Friday 06th July, 2012

 He has deservingly grazed the sporting pages, WebPages, magazines and newsletters in recent times for sporting excellence.
With the built of a Kerema, the attitude of a New Irelander and the speed of a Central, you can never have a better cocktail for such an explosive athlete.
It is no wonder, the mixed Kerema, Central and New Ireland mixed chap has won PNG’s Best Sports Person with Disability award twice (2011 and 2012) in a row.
After completing grade 10 at Redscar high school near Porebada in 2002, Elias Larry did not make it to any further studies or find a job.
Instead he joined the De¬fence rugby union club and concentrated his efforts on sports.
For a kid who had very little hope in life, he was spotted at the Bava park by a chap called Michael Bai who happens to be the manager of the electrifying PNG Paralympics sprint sensa¬tion Francis Kompaon.
The speed in those lofty Io¬kea legs running down the park like a bullet train was enough to secure him a spot to trial at the Sir John Guise stadium under coach Naomi Polume.
For a chap who played soccer, touch rugby, a bit of athletics and other casual sports at school, Larry was scouted as a raw talent.
During his trial, Larry impressed on the coaches who slotted him into the PNG team and was sent to Goroka where he underwent further training for a month.
He debuted in May 2009 at the Arafura games in Darwin, Australia where he won four gold and two silver medals in the 100, 200 and 400 metre events respectively.
At the time, two competi¬tions were run simultaneously which included the Oceania Paralympics championship and the Arafura games.
In November the same year Larry was a member of team NCD for the PNG Games and won silver in the 100m sprint and gold in the 4x100m relay gold medal.
Other events Larry attended include the Gold Coast cham¬pionship 2010 in Australia, the Lae National championship with able bodied athletes and the 2011 Arafura games. He also attended the Pacific Games in 2011 in Noumea, New Caledonia where he won silver in the 100m sprint and attended another national championship in Lae.
Larry also attended the 2012 Queensland championship in Brisbane, Australia where he won bronze in the 200m.
After the 2009 Arafura games, PNG Ports were look¬ing for athletes to take part in its Triathlon team in a local competition and Larry was recommended. That is when he killed two birds with one stone by also securing a job.
“I want to say a big thank you to PNGPCL for support¬ing and I will always owe it to them. PNG Ports has always been willing to assist in my sport. Without PNG Ports, I wouldn’t have come this far. They gave me life, hope and everything else for me and my family,” Larry said with a look of appreciation in his eyes.
At 27, Larry is a bachelor who is eyeing the London Paralympics as his next goal and says he will consider a family after he has achieved “my dreams and enjoy life including the London games as my immediate priority.”
He is currently training in¬tensively under Naomi Polume with able bodied athletes and wants to achieve the kind of feat Kompaon achieved in Beijing.
PNG Ports CEO Stanley Alphonse, the management and staff are all behind Larry and wish him every success in his London quest.
– The writer is the Senior Public Relations Officer,
PNG Ports