By ROBINSON LEKA
UNIT pride and force unity was the theme for this year’s military wives sports tournament that was held in Port Moresby’s Murray Barracks from Sept 16-18.
The annual event is a homage to the wives of military personnel within the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) and it shines a light on women and their roles in their homes and their respective units.
The eighth edition of the tournament started on Independence Day (Sept 16) with up to six teams from five military units based in Port Moresby taking part in the three-day event.
Host coordinator for the tournament Margaret Bare told The National that the emphasis of the tournament was to bring the wives out of their homes and put them into a friendly and competitive environment alongside fellow units in Port Moresby.
“We have up to six units which include Goldie, Air Transport Wing (ATW), Taurama, the Navy (Basilisk), and two from Murray Barracks force support battalion,” she said.
“The games have always been a success with the participation and the only time we couldn’t host the games was last year due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) but we’re grateful to have the approval for us to have games this year.
“We have up to 12 teams that have come in to participate this year for us to have games during the independence celebrations,” said Bare.
“The tournament is basically focused on bringing out women who are military wives and putting them into friendly competition.
“This fosters a good relationship between the wives from the different units and also promotes equal participation of our women who are most times serving as home-makers for their families,” said Bare.
Bare explained that the tournament started off as friendly games between three units in Port Moresby with the initiative gaining traction amongst wives and eventually branching out to all units based in and around Port Moresby.
“The initiative behind the games came from a handful of wives at the ATW, Taurama and Murray Barracks back in 2012.
“Along the course of this games we had some wives from Goldie and Basilisk join which made it five units so Murray Barracks later started two clubs which brings its now to the six that we have today.
“The support since the start of the games has been incredible and we’re happy to see that it has since grown to all units in Port Moresby.”
This year’s tournament saw volleyball and basketball with the wives from Taurama Barracks taking out the top honours for both codes.
“The tournament organisers are keen on expanding competition for next year.
“We’ve had other sporting codes like netball and soccer for previous years that were hosted by our sister units but for this year we’ve limited competition to volleyball and basketball.
“Given the timing and the strict regulations on hosting events under the Covid-19, we opted to have only two sporting codes.
“Much of what is happening here with the tournament is thanks to our commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Roderick Noyamefa who has made it possible for us to have our games.
“He has been behind the initiative from the wives since day one and in helping to get the programme for the tournament out.
“We’re grateful to have the support from sponsors such as BSP Life (cash prizes) and IPI group (trophies) who have come on board this year in making it a success this year.
“We’ve received support from organisations like Telikom, Theodist, Goodman Fielders, Lae Builders and the Defence Bowling Club.”
“The organising committee would also extend its acknowledgement to the National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop for fulfilling his commitment to support the tournament and we hope to continue this partnership moving forward.
Competition during the three-day event also witnessed a showcase of traditional PNG performances from the host unit with the tournament embracing the Independence weekend celebrations.
The force support battalion at Murray described the idea behind the tournament described the tournament as a, “successful and improving competition amongst units that are friendly games intended create cohesiveness.
“This tournament fosters healthy relationships and creates a better network among each other while continuing to promote mass and equal participation, confidence and self-esteem.”
Apart from the participation of women in the tournament Bare added that the support from their husbands in the military was a standout this year with the men and children getting behind their wives and mothers for this year’s event.
“You can see that most of the sister units that come in and play are happy and that just fits in well with the independence celebrations.
“We’ve noted a big turnout from the husbands who have been coming out with their children to show their support and it’s just amazing.
“Seeing the participation and energy from everyone involved this year brings truly builds on our theme of unity in the force.”