Pini’s father hails son’s effort

Normal, Sports

KEVIN Pini, the father of Commonwealth Games silver medallist Ryan, says his son performed well beyond expectations when finishing second to Australian Geoff Huegill in the 100m butterfly final in New Delhi.
The elder Pini said heading into the Games, neither he nor the PNG swim star’s team, were expecting the 29-year-old to be as competitive after several shoulder operations since his 2006 triumph in Melbourne  – and the fact that the competition would have improved.
“We weren’t sure how Ryan was going to go (in Delhi) but you never know because so much changed since the Melbourne games.
“Ryan did well at the Beijing Olympics (2008) when he finished 10th fastest in the 100m butterfly but he’s had three shoulder operations since so to get silver in Delhi was a fantastic performance,” Pini said.
The 59-year-old, who has lived nearly all his life in Papua New Guinea, said in order for Ryan to maintain his world class form he has had to participate in numerous competitions in Australia and elsewhere but this has taken a toll on the swimmer dubbed “super fish”.
“All the competitions have been tough on Ryan but he needs the experience in order to be in the elite class, and he’s gone hard every time.”
When asked about his son’s future he said Ryan would take each year as it came, and depending on results, and how his body held up, Ryan would take it from there.
“The next two years will see the Pacific Games in New Caledonia and then the London Olympics and these are Ryan’s obvious goals,” he said.
“Of course there’ll be other events like the Australian championships, but unfortunately Ryan is only allowed to compete in heats because Australia’s swimming body gives priority to its own swimmers. He’ll also swim in the world championships.”
He added that the more high level competition his son was involved in would only serve to keep PNG’s greatest swimmer in good condition for a tilt at the next Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland in 2014 and set the stage for a final swansong at home the following year when Port Moresby hosts the Pacific Games (2015).
Ryan will be 34 by then but it would cap off a fantastic career for the PNG swimmer.