Northern concludes games with sights on provincial squad


THE Northern (Oro) Provincial games concluded yesterday in Popondetta following four days of competition in seven sports with teams from Ijivitari and Sohe districts participating.
Chairman of the sports council Matt Ungaia told The National yesterday that the provincial games followed the local level government (LLG) and district games that were hosted last year before the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic disrupted sporting activities.
Ungaia said from the performance of the athletes in the last four days, selections would be made for a team to represent the province at the Southern regional games in Milne Bay from Nov 28-Dec 7.
Sports played during provincial games included soccer, volleyball, touch, basketball, netball, darts and rugby league nines.
Ungaia said next month the province would stage athletics, cricket, karate and kickboxing competitions to select teams and competitors to represent Northern province at the regional games in Alotau.
He said the Southern regional games would be a good preparation for the province as it prepared for the PNG Games that are yet to be confirmed.
Ungaia said they were following the PNG Games charter in organising the games from the LLG level up to the provincial level.
“We were unable to host the provincial games until now, so more or less it’s like the best from team Ijivitari competing against team Sohe,” Ungaia said.
“These athletes are the best representing their districts so it was a very competitive. We had the soccer and nines league played at the Independence Oval, darts at the Higaturu Council Chamber and netball, volleyball, basketball and touch were played at the Dr Doroin Park.”
Meanwhile, general team manager for Northern Roy Heni told The National that due to limited venues, the other sporting codes, including cricket and athletics, would be held at a later date before a final contingent for the regional games was announced.
While all these preparations were aimed at preparing a team for Northern to compete in the 8th PNG Games in Mendi, Southern Highlands, The National is yet to receive an official statement by the PNG Games Council or the PNG Sports Foundation.
“We have been assured (by the Games council) that the PNG Games will be held but not this year because the construction work for the venues in Mendi are still underway,” Ungaia said.
Attempts to get comments from the PNG Games Council on the deferral of the event were unsuccessful.