ACTING Minister for Sports James Marape believes swimmer Ryan Pini and Paralympic silver medallist Francis Kompaon will be able repeat their performances in this year’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.
“I believe they can do us proud and win something for us again but if they do not, we are still proud of them and we know they gave their best,” Marape said after visiting the team at the Games Village in New Delhi.
He also believes Rita Kari is another potential for Team PNG.
Marape said he knew all the athletes would give their best as they always did in big events.
To show his support, the minister pledged K2,000 to an individual athlete who won a medal and K5,000 to the team that won a medal.
On his visit on Saturday, Marape was accompanied by the PNG High Commissioner to India, Tarcisius Eri, first secretary Karo Rupa and her hard working husband and Team Attaché, Andrew Ikufu and their families.
Marape encouraged the athletes to be proud of their country, to enjoy themselves and play to their best.
“Congratulations for making the team and remember that you are representing yourself, your family and most importantly, your country,” he said.
“We are a small country and our government is working hard to keep us together and you as sportsmen and women can help to unite the country more,” he said.
“We need you to put up a good show in event like this to showcase our country,” Marape said.
He said Pini’s win in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia was a very big thing for PNG, a very big moment for everyone.
“This is the power you have as sportsmen and women and I hope you can use this to promote and strengthen PNG,” Marape added.
Meanwhile, team general manager John Susuve said the team was focused and the spirit was very high and positive.
“Our highest priority is security, and, so far everyone has been confined to the Games Village, no one is going out unnecessarily but everyone is training hard and looking forward to the games,” he said.
Susuve said security at the village and at Games venues were very tight and everyone was feeling safe and secure at the moment.