The National, Thursday 5th January 2012
TALENT identification will be given priority over the next two years, says Athletics PNG president Tony Green when releasing its calendar of events for this year.
But Green said they would still continue to develop young athletes who had already made the national squad.
“Athletics PNG has another busy year ahead as it plans to build on the success of the Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia, last year.
“The elite programme will of course continue as well with the best athletes being given further opportunities to improve through exposure to high level overseas competition,” Green said.
The international programme kicks off next week with the PNG men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m teams taking on Australia, New Zealand and Fiji at the Brisbane Track Classic where Australia will be aiming to improve their world rankings in the relays to secure places at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Green said elite athletes Toea Wisil, Nelson Stone, Mowen Boino, Betty Burua and Salome Dell will participate in some of the big meets in Australia over the next three months.
He is hopeful some athletes will again be invited to the Asian Grand Prix in May.
“Those with a realistic chance of making it to the Olympic Games will travel to the United Kingdom in June for a series of competitions which will provide opportunities to run qualifying times,” Green said.Green said further information on the matter would be released next week.
On the domestic front the national championships will be held during Easter in Lae to avoid difficulties for teams travelling during the national election in June.
It can be a problem, especially for the Highlands provinces.
“From the championships, a team will be selected to attend the Oceania regional championships in Cairns and for distance runners to attend the Gold Coast half marathon or 10km races in July.
“In the second half of the year, regional championships are planned to identify new talent and prepare teams for the PNG Games, Green said.
“Athletics PNG is urging its member associations to conduct weekly competitions from August to November to assist athletes preparing for the Games in Kokopo in November.”
Pacific Games 400m bronze medallist John Rivan is being targeted for the World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
“John (Rivan) was clearly our top junior male athlete last year,” Green said.
However, he added that Venessa Waro was outstanding in the female ranks and she had the potential to go a long way in the sport.
“This year (2012) marks the centenary of the world governing body for the Sport (International Association of Athletic Federations) and a range of activities are planned to coincide with major events throughout the year, including the Olympic Games.
“Athletics PNG turned 50 last year but celebrations were put on hold due to all key personnel being focussed on the Pacific Games.
Its anniversary dinner will be held in March,” Green said.