Help needed in accessing venues


PORT Moresby’s multi-million kina sports facilities were built with two purposes in mind.
Firstly, the stadiums, fields, greens, courts and the swimming venue were to be used for the 2015 Pacific Games.
In the end, the facilities were credited as one of the main reasons for the success of the games.
This required a huge amount of Government expenditure (K1.2 billion) and while the people were proud of the group of facilities in the nation’s capital that could rival anything else among Pacific Island nations, they were perhaps not as appreciative of the size and scale of the projects and the effort required to maintain and safeguard them from being rundown through overuse or conversely become little used “white elephants”.
Secondly, the facilities were termed as legacy venues by the Government because their existence would now usher in what former Sports minister Justin Tkatchenko called a “sports revolution” that would see the spectrum of local sports advance and improve over the short and medium term through the use of the venues.
This vision for the Sir John Guise Stadium track and complex, the Taurama Aquatic Centre, the Bisini Sports fields as well as the Rita Flynn Courts and indoor complex, the tennis courts and bowling greens came into fruition when Port Moresby hosted or co-hosted several major tournaments since 2015.
The Rita Flynn Courts and Taurama Aquatic Centre are currently being used for the rollout of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination and the latter is being used as a make-shift hospital ward for Covid-19.
The Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016 was one and the 2017 Rugby League World Cup were the two major events set to be hosted entirely and in part in the National Capital District.
What sports are now finding is that their new and improved venues are now coming with attendant costs.
Where previously they had paid token amounts for the use of venues over the course of a season, they will now have to pay significant amounts of money to enjoy and benefit from the venues.
While we appreciate the idea of generating funds from the use of these facilities for the overall upkeep, not all sporting associations have the financial backing of large corporate entities.
Most of them are basically run on contributions from the player/team/club registration.
There needs to be some kind of consideration given by the National Sports Trust when deciding whether to charge the full fee or bringing the rate down for those “smaller sports” who struggle to bring in the sponsorship kina and have a playing base made largely of unemployed youth and students.
It is a valid argument because the reality of the situation is that most sports do not enjoy the same level of support from the backing from the corporate sector as the more popular codes.
Sporting codes such as rugby league, soccer, netball and even rugby union will always enjoy a certain of popularity and thereby garner adequate support from the State, businesses as well as their regional and world bodies.
The question now is, if the venues were built for the sports to use, then why aren’t they being made available and accessible?
The use of the venues over the course of the year should be management properly, there is no argument there, but the marginalisation of some lesser sports because they simply cannot afford the premiums is a disservice to the members of the whole sporting community who deserve to benefit equally from the facilities.
These facilities need to be maintained regularly.