Jiwakans lack proper gyms but top bodybuilding stats


JIWAKA does not have a gymnasium when it comes to bodybuilding, but the province seems to be the place where most medal-producing bodybuilders in the country come from.
Rex Tonga, a 29 year old young man from Kerowil in North Waghi, who had just won silver for PNG in the Pacific Bodybuilding Championships held in Honiara in October sees a lot more bodybuilding potential in Jiwaka once proper facilities are set up.
Tonga has also hauled gold for Team Jiwaka in the National Bodybuilding Championships held in June in Goroka in the 85kg division.
After the Goroka event, Tonga was selected by the PNG Bodybuilding Federation, along with four other males and a female to participate in the Pacific championships where Tonga and the female bodybuilder went on to win silver while the other four men won bronze in their respective divisions.
He says without proper training facilities for local bodybuilders like him and others in the province, they have to resort to lifting stones from rivers near their homes, make homemade weights out of coffee pulpers, and use other heavy objects they find and turn into weights.
“I started active bodybuilding in 2014 when I participated at the 2014 PNG Games in Lae. I won gold for Team Jiwaka in the 90kg division.
“I prepared for the 2016 PNG Games in Kimbe but unfortunately it was postponed to this year which means I no longer qualify to compete in this event because I have already competed at the national and international stages.
“I see that as far as bodybuilding is concerned, Jiwaka has the potential and it has proven that so many times,” an assured Tonga said.
The young bodybuilder is confident of a lot more miles left in him yet as he shared his experiences of past and present local Jiwakan bodybuilders who have raised the bar despite the lack of proper training facilities.
He said for the sport of bodybuilding, and any other sport, to be competitive outside of the country, it is important that each province has its own gyms and running tracks and playing fields in order for PNG to produce the best athletes who can go on to compete, and win, at world class events.
Tonga has extended his heartfelt gratitude to the Jiwaka provincial government and Governor Dr William Tongamp for supporting grassroots sports and sponsoring Team Jiwaka in 2014 and again this year.
“A lot of our local talents are hiding in the villages. They can be unearthed and exposed through the PNG Games and also through grassroots sports.”
Tonga also extended a words of thank you to the PNG Olympic Committee and the PNG Bodybuilding Federation for making it possible for him to compete at the top levels.
He is now looking forward to the next Pacific Bodybuilding Championships in Fiji next year.
Previous Jiwakan bodybuilders that won gold for the country are former Mr Pacific Donald Kaiwi, current Mr PNG Imbak Wiape, and others like Johnny Teine and late John Waglet were at the top of the national list.
Outside of bodybuilding, Jiwaka has Pacific Sprint Queen Toea Wisil, and her brother Kupun Wisil, relative unknowns who emerged from their humble beginnings in the highlands and are now making a name for themselves and the country on the tracks globally.
Team Jiwaka executive member Joe Kilip expressed the same concerns that the local bodybuilders like Tonga are struggling without any training facility.
“It is sad that they are training during their own time and with their own improvised equipment at their villages and sacrificing to make the province and country proud.
“They are our national flag bearers. I urge the four MPs from Jiwaka to work together to identify such talents and provide exercise venues for them to work in so that they can be up there with the best in the world,” Kilip added.