By ZACHERY PER
GOROKA-BASED Papua New Guinea athletes who won medals at the Pacific Games arrived home to a rousing welcome from National Sports Institute (NSI) staff and their families in the Eastern Highlands capital.
Led by NSI director Janet Gimots and sports excellence Samu Sasama, the staff and the athletes’ families were at Goroka Airport with placards on Monday afternoon.
“We are proud of these athletes who live and train here (NSI),” Gimots said. “They won gold, silver and bronze in their respective events.”
She said the athletes trained on grass tracks unlike those from other countries who train overseas.
Gimots called on the Government to put synthetic tracks at NSI after athletics helped Team PNG overhaul Australia, hosts Samoa, Fiji and Tahiti in week two of the Games in Apia.
“High-altitude training is also done at NSI because of the perfect conditions in Goroka,” she said.
“Athletes who train here can compete anywhere in the world.
“NSI is a complete centre for athletes as there is lodging, messing, training and other facilities all in the one area.”
Sasama said athletes who train at NSI had broken records and won medals.
He said sprint champion Toea Wisil led with four gold in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x400m relay, and silver in the 4x100m relay.
Sasama made special mention of disabled athlete James Kuadua Gundu, who has hearing and speech impairments, for winning two bronze (3,000m steeplechase and 10,000m).
Others who won medals are Simbai Kaspar (two gold in the 3,000m steeplechase and 10,000m), Siune Kagl (silver in the 3,000m steeplechase), Mary Tenge (two silver in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase), Lyanne Tibu (bronze in the 1500m), Sapolai Yao (silver in the 3,000m steeplechase), Ephraim Lerkin (silver in the 800mand one bronze in 400m hurdles).
Michael Penny and Linus Kuravi (one bronze each in the 4x100m relay), Leonie Beu (one gold in the 4x400m relay, two silver in the 400m and 4x100m relay, and two bronze in the 100m and 200m), Isilah Manukip Apkup (gold in the 4x 400m relay), Rayleen Kanam (silver in the heptathlon) and Peniel Richard (two silver in the high and triple jumps and bronze in the long jump).
“Peniel sets new national record in the triple jump, leaping 15.51m and breaking his previous record of 15.45m set at the Mini Games in 2017,” Sasama said.
“NSI now awaits Toea Wisil who arrives in Goroka later this week.”
By ZACHERY PER