THE National Gaming Control Board (NGCB) yesterday stretched out an arm to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, through a K10,000 sponsorship for the Bougainville Black Orchid Rugby Sevens Tournament set for Feb 20-21.
“We want to make it the best tournament in the region,” Autonomous Region of Bougainville Governor Fidelis Semoso said.
“We extend our appreciation to NGCB and the National Government for the gesture and assistance for the Black Orchid through this money,” Semoso who is also the patron of Bougainville rugby, said yesterday.
“On behalf of my office and the people of Bougainville, mi laik tok tenk you turu (I would like to say thank you). The money will go a long way in helping and assisting the ongoing reconciliation process on the island,” he added.
Semoso said while sports was a uniting vehicle for the people, the Black Orchid rugby sevens tournament started as a small event and played a very important role in the lives of the youth on the island.
He also stated that it would work hand-in-hand with the weapons disposal programme in Bougainville.
The director of Community Benefit Fund Felix Diapong, who handed over the cheque for K10,000 on behalf of the NGCB, said the board had helped a lot of groups in PNG, and that it was timely that they gave some funds to support sports in Bougainville.
This is the fourth time for the event to take place and has grown into a major sevens challenge in the PNG Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) calendar.
The event has attracted teams from other provinces who are expected to arrive next week to battle for K30,000 in prize money.
Bougainville Rugby chief Peter Tsiamalili Jr, who was present to witness the hand over of monies, thanked the NGCB, on behalf of ABRFU and the rugby union fraternity in the country.
“The event has been a vehicle for our youth. I am grateful to NGCB and the Government for being a part of this ongoing progress,” Tsiamalili Jr said.